Multiple Intelligences Theory (Gardner)

Multiple Intelligences Theory posits that there are seven ways people understand in the world, described by Gardner as seven intelligences.




Contributors

  • Howard Gardner (1943-)

Key Concepts

Developed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in 1983 and subsequently refined, this theory states there are at least seven ways (“intelligences”) that people understand and perceive the world[1][2]. These intelligences may not be exhaustive. Gardner lists the following:

Linguistic

The ability to use spoken or written words.

Logical-Mathematical

Inductive and deductive thinking and reasoning abilities, logic, as well as the use of numbers and abstract pattern recognition.

Visual-Spatial

The ability to mentally visualize objects and spatial dimensions.

Body-Kinesthetic

The wisdom of the body and the ability to control physical motion.

Musical-Rhythmic

The ability to master music as well as rhythms, tones and beats.

Interpersonal

The ability to communicate effectively with other people and to be able to develop relationships.

Intrapersonal

The ability to understand one’s own emotions, motivations, inner states of being, and self-reflection.

Implications for Classrooms

The verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences are the ones most frequently used in traditional school curricula[3]. A more balanced curriculum that incorporates the arts, self-awareness, communication, and physical education may be useful in order to leverage the intelligences that some students may have.

Criticism

This theory, while widely popular over the last two decades, has its share of critics. Some argue that Gardner’s theory is based too much on his own intuition rather than empirical data. Others feel that the intelligences are synonymous for personality types.


Additional Resources and References

Resources

References

  1. Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic books.
  2. Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. Basic books.
  3. Armstrong, T. (2009). Multiple intelligences in the classroom. Ascd.

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Please cite this article as: J L, "Multiple Intelligences Theory (Gardner)," in Learning Theories, July 17, 2014, https://www.learning-theories.com/gardners-multiple-intelligences-theory.html.