Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences: Definition & 9 Intelligences [Explained]

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

American Psychologist Howard Gardner introduced his theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. It is famous for Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. His theory suggests that there is more to being intelligent than simply being proficient in languages or being good in math or psychology.

Gardner’s nine types of intelligence have been described below and know your intelligence type and potential career. According to him, those who have all these nine types of intelligence will be the most active and successful people.

1. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

One of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is logical-mathematical intelligence. This type of intelligence describes superior inductive and deductive reasoning and calculating ability so that anyone who possesses it can think conceptually and abstractly. In any given position, they get it very easy to recognize trends and patterns and know relationships. Order and sequencing figure considerably in your thinking manners.

You have high logical-mathematical intelligence if:

  • You are good with numbers and various tasks that involve quantifying things, such as mathematical problems and arithmetic problems.
  • You enjoy performing experiments and conducting investigations in order to prove the hypotheses that you have formulated earlier.
  • You enjoy playing logic and strategy games, and you do it often to further improve your intelligence.
  • You enjoy the challenge of sorting out ambiguities and solving puzzles.
  • Your curiosity makes you ask cosmic or deep questions.

People with high logical-mathematical intelligence are best suited in occupations such as mathematicians, investigators, investigative journalists, scientists, and so forth.

2. Linguistic Intelligence

Another intelligence from Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is linguistics. It refers to a person’s ability to use words effectively. Some folks deem that if you know more than two languages, then you have excellent linguistic competence. That is correct, but that is not enough to be linguistically talented. In other words, linguistic intelligence is seen in your ability to find the right words to express what you mean.

You have high linguistic intelligence if:

  • You have a way with words and can use them to achieve an objective such as persuasion or convincing someone to do something or act in a certain manner.
  • You have a rich vocabulary, and you know what words to use, and how and when to use them.
  • You lie to read a lot, and you may also want to write a lot.
  • You enjoy playing word games, or other similar games that involve word use.
  • You have an easy grasp of other languages or dialects even if fluency is not required.

People who demonstrate high linguistic intelligence include authors, novelists, poets, journalists, public speakers, and motivational speakers.

3. Visual-Spatial Intelligence

The third of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is visual-spatial intelligence. Some people have difficulty viewing or visualizing the world in its three dimensions. When we talk about being able to think in 3D, the following capacity are involved:

Mental Imagery or the capacity of the person to draw up, in his/her mind, an image or picture as a representation of the physical world. Whether it is from memory or an actual previous experience with that object, he/she can easily see in his/her mind’s eye that object, even if it is not physically present within his line of sight.

Spatial Reasoning or the capacity to perceive and think about objects in 3D, even despite having limited information about them. It also covers the capacity to draw generalizations from the limited information available.

Image Manipulation or the capacity to view an image and picture how it will look when twisted or altered. Some people have trouble picturing the result when an image’s appearance is changed, while some have no issues seeing how it will turn out when the proposed changes have been affected.

Artistic Skills or the ability and skills in creating fine art. Graphic skills also fall under this category. Essentially, being visually and spatially intelligent often goes hand in hand with creativity, especially in several professions or lines of work.

Visual-spatial intelligence also involves having a very active imagination. Most of the time, you will be drawing on your imagination when putting this intelligence to use.

You have high visual-spatial intelligence if:

  • You have a high awareness of your surrounding environments.
  • You have very good navigation skills and a sharp sense of direction.
  • You enjoy playing with jigsaw puzzles and games that involve maps and mazes.
  • You like to draw and work with pictures and images.
  • You tend to daydream a lot, creating scenarios in your head.

A person with visual-spatial intelligence will become highly applauded as a painter, sculptor, architect, and designer.

4. Naturalist Intelligence

The fourth intelligence of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is naturalist intelligence. Being able to read and understand nature, and all the living things in and on it is also a type of intelligence. Having sensitivity to all living and nonliving elements in nature makes you “nature smart.”

You have high naturalist intelligence if:

  • You love nature and enjoy spending time outdoors.
  • You are easily able to connect with animals.
  • You have the ability for raising animals and making plants grow (what people call a “green thumb”).

People with naturalist intelligence work best as botanists, agriculturists, forest and park rangers, and so forth.

5. Musical Intelligence

The fifth intelligence of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is musical intelligence. Can you carry a tune? Do you have a talent for dividing the elements and details of sound? Then you should count yourself as one of the intelligent ones when it comes to musicality. If you are really receptive to rhythm and sound, then you occupy this type of intelligence.

You have high musical intelligence if:

  • You can distinguish sounds and break them down – their pitch, rhythm, tone, and timbre easily
  • You live and can recognize, create, and or reflect – on music
  • You are comfortable with music or sound playing in the background even when you are doing other things.
  • You are highly sensitive to even the smallest sound so that you can hear sounds that others miss.

People with this intelligence find their position as musicians, composers, vocalists, conductors, sound mixers, sound engineers, and so forth.

6. Existential Intelligence

The sixth intelligence of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is existential intelligence. This intelligence denotes a deep sensitivity and a high capacity to tackle very serious questions, combined with a passion to pursue the answers to these questions.

You have high existential intelligence if:

  • You are genuine in your curiosity to answer questions like “Why do we live?”, “Why do we die?” and “What happens to us after death?” and so forth.
  • You demonstrate high sensitivity when it comes to matters related to human existence.

People with existential intelligence are most suited to jobs in psychology and theology.

7. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

The seventh intelligence of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Have you ever heard of hand-eye coordination? Usually, people who have superior hand-eye coordination make large profits in the field of sports. However, it is rare for us to hear athletes being described as intelligent by their athleticism.

There is also such a thing as mind-body coordination and this is what bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is.

You have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence if:

  • You have a keen sense of body awareness, knowing what you are capable of, and recognizing your physical limits.
  • You can communicate well using body language, with gestures and actions that can convey the message you intend to deliver to the recipients.
  • You have no issues with physical contact since you are comfortable touching other people or being touched.
  • You have, at least, a very good sense of timing when it comes to performing physical tasks and activities.
  • You are good with your hands such that you can handle tools and machines with a high degree of skill, combined with an economy of movement.
  • You like making or creating something with your hands.

People who possess bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are usually athletes, dancers, acrobats, and stage performers. But perhaps the best example of somebody good with their hands is a surgeon, whose every action, no matter how small, inside the operating room, will dictate how a patient’s life will go.

8. Interpersonal Intelligence

The eighth intelligence of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is interpersonal intelligence. Your emotions have also very close links with your intelligence, we even have what is known as emotional intelligence or EQ. In this case, interpersonal intelligence refers to your ability to sense other people’s feelings, as well as read their motives. They say that you have above-average interpersonal skills if you possess good to very good communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal.

You have high interpersonal intelligence if:

  • You can easily spot distinctions or differences among people, and you also find it easy to recognize them even in a large crowd.
  • You have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and you are comfortable spending time with other people.
  • You are sensitive to the moods and temperaments of other people. You are able to look at things from various points of view or perspectives, instead of just sticking to your own angle.

People with high interpersonal intelligence will do great as teachers, social workers, and politicians. Stage and film actors also use their interpersonal intelligence to essay or portray any character.

9. Intrapersonal Intelligence

The last or ninth of Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is intrapersonal intelligence. Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory is also called Gardner’s nine intelligence theory.

Self-awareness is also a form of intelligence. If you understand yourself, if you know what you are feeling and why you are feeling, and if you know exactly what you want and need, then you can confidently say that you possess intrapersonal intelligence.

You have high intrapersonal intelligence if:

  • You are self-motivated, meaning you tend to put yourself first when assessing various situations you come across.
  • You are strong-willed and independent and have no issue learning by yourself.
  • You are fully aware of your feelings, and you take action to plan and direct your life, without primarily depending on others to dictate what you should do.
  • You tend to be shy and introverted, preferring to keep to yourself and have solo moments for self-reflection.

People with high intrapersonal intelligence are those who would be most comfortable as spiritual leaders, psychologists, guidance counselors, and even philosophers.

Is It Possible To Possess All Nine Intelligence?

Yes, definitely there is a high probability of that. In fact, some even claim that we all have, to a certain degree, all nine types of intelligence. It is just a matter of some types of intelligence being higher or more apparent than others.

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