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Theory of multiple intelligences

Intelligence has been a concept that has created a lot of controversy over the years. With it, it has been tried to measure the way in which we are trained to solve problems and acquire knowledge. The concept of multiple intelligences , created and developed by Howard Gardner , opens up a wider range of possibilities, endowing intelligence with greater wealth, offering an adaptation closer to people’s reality.

Howard Gardner was thus the creator of a new paradigm regarding what we knew about intelligence. This concept had become stagnant, had many limitations and did not have enough answers to attend to the reality of the human being.

Historically, intelligence had always been associated with the academic world , and more specifically with the ability to acquire knowledge. For this, the first intelligence test was developed, which was created by the French psychologist, Alfred Binet, and the psychiatrist, also of the same nationality, Théodore Simon, in 1905. The objective of this test was to determine which individuals had an intellectual deficit, in order to consider their educational possibilities in relation to the rest of the population. For this they were based on a series of tests in order to stipulate a mental age for the individual.

The great limitations that intelligence tests have had have been that they exclusively mediate a series of capacities, considering that they are the most important when assessing intelligence. The intelligence quotient was the result of the measurement of arithmetic, memory and linguistic skills . However, thanks to the new paradigm of multiple intelligences, all the areas in which a person can develop are considered, so that another series of factors are taken into account to be evaluated in which they can stand out.

What are the multiple intelligences

The American psychologist, Howard Gardner, offered a new perspective that changed the way of looking at intelligence. Under his theory there was not a single intelligence but there were multiple intelligences.

In 1983 with his book “Structures of the Mind”, Gardner tries to show the world his discovery about what we call “intelligence.” In the book, the author emphasizes his position that the conventional concept of intelligence is too narrow and restrictive and that other “intelligences” that an individual may possess are often missed in IQ measurements. For him, there is no generalized intelligence, on the contrary, he affirms that the human being has different types of intelligence.

The theory of multiple intelligences is not limited only to academic intelligence, with obtaining knowledge and skills to offer answers that help academic success. It is considered that the intelligence that has prevailed until now in the academic system is not a decisive factor , and that the intelligence of the person has many more aspects.

An example that we can observe on many occasions is that of the person who despite obtaining excellent academic qualifications, presents various problems to face the world and the circumstances of their day to day. Nor should one intelligence be given more value than another , simply be considered to be different. A prestigious scientist does not have to be smarter than an excellent musician, for example. Each one simply stands out with respect to a type of intelligence.

Therefore, Gardner, through multiple intelligences, adapts his theory more to what the human being really represents . In the complexity of the human being there is a set of intelligences in which each person could stand out.

Four fundamental aspects of the theory of multiple intelligences are the following:

  • There is not a single intelligence but different types of intelligences
  • These intelligences can be developed and enhanced at any time in an individual’s life.
  • Each person is capable of standing out in a type of intelligence and even in several.
  • It highlights the value that there is not one intelligence better than another, but they are simply different.

What are multiple intelligences

In the investigation on multiple intelligences Howard Gardner managed to identify and define up to 8 different types of intelligences . Next we will see what each of these intelligences are based on and what potentialities are associated with them.

Mathematical logical intelligence

This ability has always been classified as the jewel of intelligence . Being the most remarkable in the previous concept of intelligence. It has been used for many years as a yardstick to recognize a person’s intelligence. However, for the theory of multiple intelligences it is one more intelligence.

This type of intelligence is related to the ability to calculate , solve complex mathematical problems and logical reasoning. The speed with which an individual offers answers to this type of problem determines that he or she has a greater or lesser intelligence of this type. Academically, this type of intelligence has a greater prestige and value, so that in this particular field, greater importance is given to this intelligence in relation to the others. Great scientists in history excelled in this type of intelligence.

Bodily and kinesthetic intelligence

It consists of the skills that are related to the body and motor aspect . In relation to being able to handle tools, and even as an artistic expression with the aim of expressing emotions and feelings. Something very characteristic of actors, athletes and artisans. This type of intelligence has great value in the development of each of the cultures.

Linguistic intelligence

This intelligence is related to the ability to master language and to be able to communicate with others . Although all people need to communicate, there are those who have a greater capacity to learn languages ​​and use language, either to express themselves orally or in writing or even through gestures.

Those who excel in this type of intelligence know how to communicate in a much more effective way, with greater clarity and ease. The professionals who stand out in this type of intelligence are usually: politicians, writers, journalists, poets, etc.

Spatial intelligence

It is related to the way of observing the world. People who excel in these types of skills can see objects from different perspectives, and even recreate more consistent and lasting mental images than anyone else . They tend to have a better sense of aesthetics and a great ability to consider every visual detail.

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It is not surprising, therefore, that people who excel in this type of intelligence are professionally engaged in painting, sculpture, design, and many of the visual arts. Chess players, photographers and architects also have this type of more developed intelligence.

Interpersonal intelligence

Represents the ability of a person to interact and relate to other people. It influences social relationships , involving empathy , understanding, tolerance and respect. Those who excel in this type of intelligence maintain more stable and lasting relationships, in addition, they have a greater facility to establish intimate relationships.

It also has to do with intuition to warn and understand other people. This intelligence allows us to better interpret the gestures, tones and intentions of our interlocutors . This intelligence is especially important for people who have to lead or work in large groups. Also for those who have to offer a special confidence and dedication in helping people to solve their problems, such as psychologists, therapists, lawyers and pedagogues.

Intrapersonal intelligence

It explains the great ability that certain people have to delve deeply into their own knowledge. They are people who have a greater awareness and are trained to better identify their emotions, feelings, and any problem that is preventing them from moving forward in their lives. They also have a greater capacity to express what they feel, what happens to them and what they experience at every moment .

This intelligence is usually more developed by spiritual, mystical and reflective people. Since it requires a high degree of introspection. It also supposes the ability to distance oneself from situations with a high emotional content, in order to attend to one’s own biases and distortions of thought .

Musical intelligence

The art of music is something universal typical of all cultures. It is also called the universal language, because anyone can enjoy it regardless of their language .

People who excel in this type of intelligence can compose musical pieces, read and understand music with greater ease. They are usually people who sing or play an instrument, and who have a great sensitivity to capture and understand musical language .

According to Gardner and his collaborators, musical intelligence is latent in all people , although there are those who have a greater facility to develop it than others.

Naturalistic intelligence

People with this type of more developed intelligence stand out for their great restlessness and capacity for observation. They have a great interest in acquiring knowledge and in learning how everything around them works. You could say that they have an insatiable curiosity, like the one that children can have. They need to know how the world works, life, and all natural phenomena .

This intelligence can be considered as one of the essential ones in the survival of the human being . Since it drives our curiosity and interest in learning and knowing all the natural phenomena that we have to deal with in our lives.

According to Gardner, we have this type of intelligence to make creative use of what nature gives us. This would be one of the reasons for our evolution.

Multiple intelligences and education

Having already described multiple intelligences, it is convenient that we know their impact on the educational system. Until recently, the intelligences that were most enhanced were scarce, the logical, mathematical and linguistic intelligence was valued above all. In such a way that those who did not excel in this type of intelligence did not achieve great academic success.

The subjects that were given the most importance were those related to this type of intelligence. This injustice is what Howard Gardner has tried to address thanks to the theory of multiple intelligences. Under the context of education, taking into account that there are a greater number of intelligences and that, in addition, each one of them is important. Educators must acquire a new perspective in which the intelligence in which each person excels is enhanced and developed . No longer attending to a specific intelligence but to the person himself, allowing him to develop his full potential.

Many people have been victims of this type of education , and still are. In which they only valued and enhanced the capabilities of those who stood out in specific intelligences. After this vision in which it is considered that there is a set of intelligences, it is intended to get out of this error.

Furthermore, the peculiarity of this theory is that this type of intelligence is not something fixed and without the possibility of being modified. They can be developed and enhanced at any time in the life cycle . They are something dynamic that is constantly being exercised.

In this way, education is provided with greater wealth, with the fundamental role that each person learns to identify the intelligences in which he stands out the most , to help him develop them as much as possible. Understanding that intelligence is an interaction between biological and environmental factors. It is not about skills, but about a set of potentialities ready to be exercised and developed, in a constant process of change and improvement.

Gardner argues that we all possess the 8 types of intelligences . And that, nevertheless, some have greater facility to develop before others. Obviously, the more types of intelligence we are capable of developing, we will not see more resources available to face the daily challenges that our development and survival entail. Thanks to this theory of multiple intelligences, education has questioned its teaching method, to adapt to the needs and individuality of each student. Something that represents, without a doubt, a paradigm shift that has yet to be developed .

If you want to know even more about this topic, there is a very interesting video that we put after the Networks program, of neurosciences and psychology.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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