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Howard Gardner's 9 Multiple Intelligences Definition

Are you interested in learning more about the theory of multiple intelligences? This is a theory developed by Howard Gardner, and I'm going to give you an overview of how it came about, and I'm also going to go into detail about specific traits and characteristics of all of the nine types, so stick around!

Ok first let's talk about how this theory came about, when it came about, and how it was popularized. Now during the 1970s when Gardner was doing his research, it was widely believed that you could come up with a person's intelligence, and they determined that as the IQ score, and people generally believed and accepted that you were born with a certain level of intelligence and that's what you had your whole life, and this was the IQ score, and Gardner just didn't believe this. He didn't buy into it. Based on his research, he found that:
  1. Intelligence was not static. It wasn't like something you were born with and that's what you had the rest of your life.
  2. He also believed that these IQ tests were mainly only testing certain types of intelligence, which is fine, but you also have to recognize that people have other types besides just logical reasoning types and sometimes spatial reasoning on these tests. 
There are many other types of intelligence that other human beings have, and it's a great theory, and I really personally resonated with it because I don't believe that some people are just intelligent in everything and others aren't. We all have specific strengths and specific weaknesses. I especially love this metaphor of fish being really bad at climbing trees, so that's the truth of humans. We're good at some things and not good at others, and that's particularly why I'm interested in this theory. Now this theory gained huge popularity in the 80s.
Howard Gardner's 9 Multiple Intelligences Definition
image source: pixabay.com
In 1983 he published his book "Frames of Mind," which you can obviously find online and read if you find this stuff super interesting and that really took this theory to a whole new level. Now Gardner believes that you can decide "Hey, I want to increase my musical intelligence," and you can work on that, and I believe that as well. As a tutor, I see this all the time. Kids really can improve and do better in areas that they choose to. If you do 50 math problems a day, that part of your intelligence, that logical and reasoning part, will improve.

I definitely agree with what I'm seeing with Gardner's theory. A common question people ask is "Is there a test?" Can I just take a test and know which intelligence I am and how high I am in certain ones and lower in others? And the answer is there are tests out there, but Gardner himself has not come out with a test, anything that you find online is not endorsed nor created by Howard Gardner.

1. Naturalist Intelligence

The first type of intelligence that I want to talk about is the Naturalist intelligence. This type of intelligence is our attunement with the environment. Clouds, rock formations, other animals and species, insects, fish, and mammals. Our understanding and skill level with all of that. Usually, it relates to the sciences. And people who have high intelligence in this area might be zoologists, geologists, and biologists. Other types of people could be the ones that want to get even more involved in the environment, in plants. 

For example, gardeners, farmers, and landscapers. These are all types of people who have high naturalist intelligence. And as far as hobbies go, they often enjoy the outdoors, That makes a lot of sense. They like hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. All of these activities take them outside. 

2. Musical intelligence

On this type of intelligence, people have a very high ability to discern tone, pitch, rhythm, all the things having to do with music. As kids, they might be the type that is always humming or drumming or tapping their feet to a rhythm. They often can also hear sounds that other people can't hear, Their discernment between different sounds is very, very good. Obviously, careers related to this would be professional musicians, composers, conductors, and anybody related to the music field. 

3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

The next type is called Logical-Mathematical intelligence, and this is the type that is typically tested on many IQ tests, people assume that if you have a high score on an IQ test, you're intelligent, and people who don't care, but according to Gardner's theory you might be very high in this particular area, which is great but you could be lower in something like Naturalist intelligence or Musical intelligence, which we all know is not tested in schools, it's not on standardized tests, and you don't see it on IQ tests.

Mathematical Logical intelligence is very close to what it sounds like. You're good at numbers, you're very good at problem-solving, and coming up with hypotheses. Your mind is very logical and step-by-step, careers with this obviously mathematicians, accountants, scientists, people who have a very logical mind like one plus two is three. These are the type of people that will score very high typically on IQ tests and also on many standardized tests. They're also the type that probably found a lot of subjects in school very easy because our school system is geared towards this type of intelligence.

4. Existential intelligence

The next type is called Existential intelligence, and this one I was really excited to read about because I personally connect with it. This is the type of intelligence where people connect to the bigger life questions, those existential questions like "Why do we exist? Why are we here? Why does this planet exist?" And it also relates to spirituality, and you can understand why that is there, that connection between the existential questions and spirituality. A lot of spiritualists, theologians, and philosophers have very high Existential intelligence.

5. Interpersonal intelligence

The next type is Interpersonal intelligence, and this is the skill of communicating with others both verbally and non-verbally. People that score very high in this area are usually counselors, psychologists, and people who really get in tune with how someone else is thinking or feeling. They can really easily pick up on subtle cues maybe even in body language or in a tone of voice that other people can't pick up on. People with this type of intelligence also make really good politicians, salespeople, and actors.

6. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence

The next type is Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, and as it sounds, this is the ability to move physical objects and your own body. Some people who have a high level of skill in this area are obviously athletes and professional dancers. They understand proprioception or where their body is in space. They have the ability to manipulate their body very easily and also manipulate other objects, some of these people just like to use their hands, they're craftspeople, maybe they're contractors. They're the guy down the street who likes to build surfboards in his garage. These are the type that has high Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence.

7. Verbal intelligence

The next type is Linguistic Verbal intelligence, and along with the logical intelligence and mathematics that I talked about, this is the other main intelligence that our school system really values and tests and appreciates. And this is the type of intelligence that has to do with language, the written language and how it's spoken, grammar, and writing skills, people who are very high in this intelligence are very good readers. They have an excellent vocabulary, and they're often really great writers. 

Professional writers, professional journalists, and novelists. All the people within those professions tend to have a high level of skill in Verbal intelligence. Now I already mentioned interpersonal intelligence, which is our attunement with others, but there's another type, and this type is called Intrapersonal intelligence

8. Intrapersonal Intelligence

This is our attunement with ourselves. Some people are very highly intelligent with their own emotional states, thoughts, reactions to things. These are people who perhaps like to meditate and watch their thoughts. They enjoy journaling every day, being really in tune with "What is my emotional state at this moment? How am I feeling?" They can often watch their thoughts come in as they react to certain situations. Of course, like all the types, if you want to improve in this type, you can! You can build skills. I noticed in I've been meditating for many years, and as time goes on, I become very aware of when a certain event happens, what corresponding thought is triggered, and I can decide how I want to react or not react or what emotional state comes up based on a particular thought.

Now people who score highly on this type of intelligence, and when I say score I don't mean there's a test, I mean they just have a high level in this type of intelligence are spiritual teachers and leaders. People who really understand. Someone like Eckhart Tolle would be scoring very, very high on this, and if you've read up any of his books, you know what I'm talking about. This is exactly what interpersonal intelligence is all about, and this leads us right into the ninth type

9. Visual-Spatial intelligence

I found that there are some IQ tests that test this type of intelligence very strongly, if you take one of those and you're high in this area, you're gonna do really, really well, and that is your ability to manipulate objects and things in your mind. For example, if I ask you "What would a left-hand glove look like if I turn it inside out?" Someone with high visual-spatial intelligence would find this task very easy because they could very easily imagine a glove being turned inside out and what that would look like. And people who would score low are going to look at you like "I have no clue what that is." They're also really good at those abstract reasoning puzzles or they'll show a picture of an object and ask you what would it look like if you rotated that object 90 degrees.

As you can imagine, architects score very highly in this area, and so do engineers, artists, sculptors, and people with the ability to see and manipulate things in space. They also tend to be very visual.