Theory of Multiple Intelligences

April 16, 2012

Intelligence has been defined in many diferrent ways, and writers on the topics are still in wide disagreement. The term was used synonymously with intellect, which was defined as the faculty or capacity of knowing. Most definitions of intelligence emphasize certain capacities as basic to general intelligence.

The 3 most often mentioned are the ability to learn, the ability to educe relations (abstract reasoning ability), and the ability to profit from experience. A 4th capacity is frequently added, the ability to envisage and solve problems. Also a variety of capacities which in one way or another, enable the individual to cope effectively with his environment.

According to Charles Edward Spearman's Bifactor Theory, which all intellectual ability may be expressed as a result of the operation of 2 factors. A general intellectual factor which is common to all abilities. The other is a specific factor which is specific to any particular ability, but different in every case. The specifics tend to cancel each other, so that in the long run most of what accounts for an individual's intellegence is determined by general.

On the contrary, according to L. L. Thurstone's Multifactor Theory, intellegence is not determined primarily by a singel general factor, but by a variable number of similiarly broad factors. Each of these is important in certain respects, and all are considered necessary to account for different encountered in the performance of individuals on different kinds of intellegence tests. Thurstone's factors are construed as aspects, or components of mental function, corresponding in a rough way to different kinds of sensation (vision, touch, and the like).

While intellectual ability can't be localized in any specific part of the brain, effective mental functioning depends upon the intactness of the brain as a whole. Recognition of this fact once gave rise to the belief, that intellegence could be correlated with the size of the brain. This has proved incorrect.

What has been found is that individuals with markedly undersized brains (technically known as microcephalic brains, less than 750 grams) turn out to be mental defectives. However, brains above the average weight (1,400 grams for males) are not related to higher level of intellegence.

An intellegence is the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings.

Howard Gardner
Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983)

According to Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory, he claimed that an individual has 9 intelligences:

  1. Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence
    A developed verbal skills, words, spoken or written ability. An individual with verbal-linguistic intelligence is managed to learn foreign languages very easily, due to they have high verbal memory and recall.
  2. Mathematical-Logical Intelligence
    The ability of logic, abstractions, reasoning and numbers. An individual with mathematical-logical intelligence is able to recognize abstract patterns, doing scientific thinking or an investigation, and having the ability to perform complex calculations.
  3. Musical Intelligence
    Having the sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody or timbre. An individual with musical intelligence is able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music.
  4. Visual Spatial Intelligence
    The ability with spatial judgment and to visualize with the mind's eye. An individual with visual spacial intelligence is able to visualize accurately and abstractly.
  5. Body Kinesthetic Intelligence
    Having a sense of timing, and clear sense of the goal of a physical action. An individual with body kinesthetic intelligence is able to train responses, more reflexes actions, control body movements and handle objects skillfully.
  6. Interpersonal Intelligence
    The ability to interact with others. An individual with interpersonal intelligence is characterized by his sensitivity to other's moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations. Having the ability to persuade and to motivate others.
  7. Intrapersonal Intelligence
    A philosophical and critical thinking. Having the ability with introspective and self-reflective capacities. An individual with intrapersonal intelligence is able to predict his own reactions or emotions.
  8. Naturalistic Intelligence
    The ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature. An individual with naturalistic intelligence is sometimes having a career as naturalist, farmer, or gardener.
  9. Existential Intelligence
    The ability to contemplate phenomena, or questions beyond sensory data, such as the infinite and infinitesimal. An individual with existential intelligence may choose to become a priest, or philosopher as his calling, or career.

Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard GardnerFrames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner

Click here to buy book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner from Amazon.

The term Intelligence is taken from Encyclopedia International book 9 page 331 by David Wechsler, New York University College of Medicine.

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