Intelligence is a psychological construct that has been studied throughout the history of psychology, as well as in other related sciences.and also from other related sciences.
The first proposals that defined it spoke of a rather numerical and/or linguistic type of intelligence. However, authors who saw beyond these intelligences began to emerge.
This is the case of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences of Howard Gardnerwhere this author speaks of up to 11 different intelligences. His proposal was a revolution, because it expanded this field of knowledge and allowed other competencies and strengths of the person to be valued beyond their “cognitive level”.
- Recommended article: “Jean Piaget’s 4 stages of cognitive development”.
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences: what does it consist of?
Howard Gardner is an American psychologist and researcher, known for his great contributions in the field of cognitive abilities.
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences comes from Evolutionary Psychology, and has Piagetian influence (Jean Piaget’s). This theory argues that cognitive competence (or intelligence) is actually a set of skills, mental abilities or talents, that is to say, a set of abilities, mental capacities or talents.mental capacities or talents, i.e., that there are many “intelligences” that every individual possesses.
All these intelligences are equally important for daily life; simply, each of them has specific characteristics, and is used in some areas or others. For example, the linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences are the ones most commonly used in schools or in the academic environment. However, other types of intelligence within Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences will be used more in other areas.
Thus, Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences contemplates 11 types of differentiated intelligencesThese are as follows.
1. Linguistic intelligence
Linguistic intelligence is the “classic” intelligence, in the sense that almost every time we hear about intelligence, we think of it (together with logical-mathematical intelligence). It is the intelligence related to being able to read, write and communicate, i.e., based on the ability to read, write and communicate.that is to say, based on language.
It also implies being good at learning languages, and being able to express oneself correctly and efficiently. It is one of the intelligences that is most promoted in schools.
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence
The second intelligence proposed by Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is logical-mathematical intelligence. Another of the “classics”, it is related to numbers, calculation and, in short, to mathematics.. It is also related to more logical processes, with abstract reasoning, etc.
Together with the previous one, it is one of the most promoted at school, often neglecting other types of intelligence.
3. Spatial intelligence
Spatial intelligence has to do with how we perceive spaces, and how we place ourselves within them.and how we locate ourselves within them. It is also related to visuo-motor and visuo-spatial processes, and to the ability to memorize paths and know how to orient ourselves.
This is why some studies have shown how cab drivers have a more developed spatial intelligence, because they are used to moving around a lot and memorizing streets, routes and trajectories.
4. Musical intelligence
Musical intelligence is logically related to music, and to the ability to play an instrument well, to be sensitive to musical notes (knowing how to differentiate them, intoning them…), to understand a score, to know how to discriminate melodies, rhythms and instruments in a piece of music, to be sensitive to compose, etc.
This is one of the most artistic and creative intelligencesIt is one of the most artistic and creative intelligences, within Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
5. Kinetic-bodily intelligence
Kinetic-bodily intelligence is related to motor and psychomotor skills.. That is, it encompasses the abilities related to knowing how to move in space, coordinate our movements with our actions or our desires, etc.. It is especially noticeable in athletes and high performance athletes.
In addition, it allows to move the body with fluidity, to be able to perform precise movements, etc.
6. Interpersonal intelligence
Interpersonal intelligence has to do with the ability to relate to others in a fluid and satisfactory manner.. It also implies the ability to establish contacts in a friendly way, to know how to start a conversation, how to relate, how to help others, etc.
In other words, it has to do with oneself in relation to others.
7. Intrapersonal intelligence
The seventh intelligence of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is the intrapersonal intelligence; unlike the previous one, this one has more to do with oneself.
It encompasses the concepts of self-esteem, self-concept, etc.and refers to the capacity we have to reinforce (or praise) ourselves when we have done something well, or when we need it, as well as the capacity we have to be good with ourselves.
This type of intelligence is also related to “emotional intelligence”, which years later would be proposed by Daniel Goleman, and which refers to the ability to reflect on one’s own emotions (recognize them, manage them, transform them…), the ability to empathize, to understand others, to adjust our emotions to the context, etc.
8. Naturalistic intelligence
Gardner’s naturalistic intelligence refers to the intelligence related to the environment and to naturethat is, the ability to be sensitive to nature, to know how to take care of it, to appreciate its beauty and benefits, not to pollute, to recycle, etc.
In other words, it has to do with knowing how to treat nature, valuing it and taking actions to protect and care for it.
9. Existential intelligence
Existential intelligence refers to the capacity we have to find meaning in our life, in what we do.to what we do. That is to say, it would be the capacity we have to answer the philosophical questions always raised throughout history: who are we? where do we come from? where are we going? in a more metaphorical sense, not so much in a scientific sense.
That is, we can apply it in our own lives to find meaning in the things we do, and to find a goal (as well as aspirations) in life.
10. Spiritual intelligence
This intelligence, together with the following one, is one of the last ones proposed in Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. That is, it was one of the last to be formulated/added, some time after the proposal of the multiple intelligences model.
It refers to a more mystical, more abstract intelligence; it is related to the capacity to have faith in something (be it a religion, an energy…). (be it a religion, an energy…). That is, it helps to “believe in something” beyond what we see. It also relates to achieving a sense of inner peace and well-being.
11. Moral intelligence
Finally, moral intelligence refers to the ability to discern what is right and what is wrong, from an ethical or moral point of view. That is, it allows us to understand why an action can be considered “good” or “bad”, and allows us to have moral values and principles to guide our actions.
It is perhaps the most “philosophical” intelligence, which seeks to act in a meaningful and just way.
Beyond the 11 intelligences: contributions of H. Gardner
Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences proposes the assessment of these types of intelligence only when there is a good reason to do so; moreover, this assessment should be carried out in a comfortable environment, with familiar materials and cultural roles.
Howard Gardner also developed a curriculum and assessment program for preschool children: the so-called “Spectrum Project”.the so-called “Project Spectrum”. Later, he develops another program: the so-called “Project Zero”, which aims to enhance learning, thinking and creativity in children.
On the other hand, Howard Gardner questions the importance of the famous “G Factor” of intelligence, so much defended by other authors as the central element of intelligence. In other words, he questions its explanatory importance outside the formal schooling environment.
Finally, he proposes that the origin of intelligence (or rather, of “intelligences”) is the interaction between genetic factors and environmental factors.