Multiple Intelligences

The IQ (Intelligence Quotient) has become accepted (erroneously) as the way to measure a person's intelligence. This single figure with the value of 100 as average (what is average, anyway?) has created more problems than it solves.

Human intelligence has many dimensions, and this article explores Howard Gardner's notion of Multiple Intelligences.

Notes from Brain Dancing by Dilip Mukerjea:

According to Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University, there are at least eight different kinds of human intelligence. There could in fact be more intelligences, and further investigation into their existence continues with great vigour.

Gardner's contention is that individuals possess these eight intelligences to varying extents. The first seven intelligences were addressed in Gardner's book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences", initially published in 1983.

The eighth intelligence, "naturalist" was introduced recently, and another, "spiritual", is under consideration for inclusion into the list of classified ones.

Interestingly, Gardiner does not isolate a creative intelligence, unlike Buzan and Keene, who include this amongst one of the ten intelligences classified in the book "Buzan's book of Genius". Yet the creative vein does weave through all of Gardner's intelligences. This means that recognition of our strengths and weaknesses in the different intelligences impinges directly on our ability to generate creative outcomes in various domains.

Gardner's studies of the "creative" personality document that certain personality traits - such as ego strength and willingness to defy tradition - characterise outstanding creative individuals within a particular domain; they also help to explain the lack of a relationship between scores on creativity measures and scores on more conventional tests of intellectual strengths, at least about a certain level of IQ. Gardner's investigations are also being directed to the role played by different intelligences, and different combinations of intelligences, in the highest orders of human creative achievement.

Traditional IQ tests only measure two intelligences - linguistic and logical-mathematical, and later extended to include spatial intelligence. We still do not see a balanced picture of an individual after an IQ test since the majority of categorised intelligences have not been considered.

In his book "Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity", Gardner has selected seven individuals, each one's life lending significance to creativity and intelligence. Charles Darwin has been added to the list, and represents the eighth (naturalist) intelligence. All the individuals are from the same era.

Click on the Domain for information about the characteristics, and click on the Name of the Person for more details about them

DomainName of the PersonRoleBorn - Died
Linguistic T S Eliotpoet1888 - 1965
Logical-Mathematical Albert Einsteinscientist1879 - 1955
Musical Igor Stravinskycomposer and conductor1882 - 1971
Visual-Spatial Pablo Picassoartist1881 - 1973
Bodily-Kinesthetic Martha Grahamdancer1894 - 1991
Intrapersonal Sigmund FreudNeurologist/Psychologist 1856 - 1939
Interpersonal Mahatma Gandhifreedom fighter1869 - 1948
Naturalist Charles Darwin naturalist1809 - 1882

Evaluate and plot your Multiple Intelligence Quotient (MIQ)

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