Am I Intelligent? Part I

I was in the process of writing the article on right and wrong (will be published next if nothing else catches my mind) when I kept stumbling upon posts about the types of intelligence and the misuse of this concept.

We most often take things at face value; we don’t check the real story behind the concept as we don’t do a background check on the person posting such idea. The fact that we don’t question powerful ideas is extremely dangerous to the self as well as to the path we follow if we embrace such concepts.

This article is an exhaustive and complete research about the herein subject based on scientific evidence and on deep reflection. Due to its length, the article is divided into four parts; part I lays out Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, part II sheds light on the misuse and drawbacks of this theory, part III demonstrates the best applications of this theory and part IV presents a counter-argumentative approach.

The concept of types of intelligence was first developed in 1983 (yes it is not something new) by the American developmental psychologist Howard  Gardner.

Howard Gardner.

The American developmental psychologist Howard Gardner

According to Gardner, there exists 7 original types of intelligence:

1. Musical intelligence – the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalists, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.[fundersandfounders]

2. Logical or mathematical intelligence – the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.[fundersandfounders]

3. Interpersonal intelligence – the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives. [fundersandfounders]

4. Bodily or kinesthetic intelligence – Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and crafts people exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence. [fundersandfounders]

5. Linguistic intelligence – the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles. [fundersandfounders]

6. Intra-personal intelligence – the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated. [fundersandfounders]

7. Spatial intelligence – the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming. [fundersandfounders]

Two more types of intelligence were added to the existing seven by Gardner himself in 1999. He didn’t want to commit to a spiritual or religious intelligence so he proposed existential intelligence. We can find the definition of these additions hereafter:

8. Naturalist intelligence – designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like. [fundersandfounders]

9. Existential intelligence – sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why we die, and how did we get here. [fundersandfounders]

Gardner's 9 types of intelligence

A summary of Gardner’s 9 types of intelligence

With these additional types of intelligence, the total of types rises to a number of 9. However, Gardner’s concept is still a theory (called Theory of Multiple Intelligences) and there’s still debate, even 34 years afterward, whether these intelligences are considered types or skills. Since it is still a theory, it is not proven and hence is detrimental to the individual if embraced.

We will see in part II how Gardner’s theory is misused and why it is dangerous to adopt it. Until part II is out, think of the time you started a new activity, depending on your immediate needs, that wasn’t in your inner library and then think of where you are now in this regard. Common examples would be starting dance classes, music classes, fitness activities to attract a more suitable partner.

You are welcome to post a comment or feedback at any time within the comment section below.




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