First, lets’ start with interpreting assessments, whether those of intelligence or those of aptitude (assessments of personality are left for part IV). While assessments of intelligence (IQ tests) give a precise value, the other kinds are relative and subject to the interpretation of the interviewer. There is no mathematical equation to get accurate diagnostics or results as there is no mathematical equation which defines us.
An example of this would be if you consider yourself a 5/10 in a specific area whereas others would rate you as a 3 or an 8. If genius is a 10/10… then we are all zeros. If ignorance is 0/10 then we are all 10s. We are all ignorant if we compare ourselves to Beethoven while we are gods if we play two notes for the musically “ignorant”. Check this inspiring video about rating success.
We would also argue, on that same axis, that no one really knows himself and spends his whole life trying to know. Hence no other can really know about you and what “kind” of intelligence you have.
Psychological assessments are effective when used in a bouquet of diagnostics and interviews. They cannot function in standalone mode. Moreover, no one is entitled to define your type(s) of intelligence… not even yourself.
Second, let’s check the rating systems. How can we rate emotional or social intelligence? We all have problems with our peers and we all have inner conflicts.
I sat for the social-intelligence test once, developed by Simon Baron-Cohen, while applying for a job at a corporate training “firm”. I wasn’t really in need of the job and I applied just to check what these companies really had to offer. To my astonishment, the interviewer, who was asking me questions from the typed paper in front of him (literally by the book in this case), hands me a stack of papers on which pictures of eyes on the right and words on the left.
The pictures were dark and yellowish, the size of each pixel was equal to the size of my pinky! Each picture had a set of 4 words on the left; some words I knew while others I had never seen them in my life. My interviewer asks me to select the best word from the left describing the picture on the right. There were around 38 pictures in total! He then left to do business in the bathroom for 5 minutes – very professional. Upon his return, I ask him about a couple of words I couldn’t understand and all he says is “I can’t help you with this”.
As I embark on the journey of mixing and matching, I discover, in addition to (beware sarcasm ahead) the high quality of the pictures and the words that I couldn’t understand, that the look can be faked, that the interpretation depends on the culture and personal experience, the eyes hold many layers of emotions the deeper you go into the gaze. These looks can be also interpreted depending on the mood of the interviewee and the projection of his proper emotions/self onto those gazes.
I frankly was very skeptical about the test at the time of the taking, and I got very disappointed when I got back home. I sat for the test again, on my computer, and I scored high. However, when taking the test online (the more proper way), they ask you some questions beforehand like how old you are, if you’ve taken this test before, in what country you lived most of your childhood and for the past five years. There’s more context to the “test” with these questions as they take your mother-tongue and your cultural background into consideration.
At the end of the test you get a score over 36 and the page shows you the average score of the mass. And then lo and behold, the text after that states:
“Does this test work equally well for all people around the world?
This test was developed in Great Britain and the images you saw were taken from British magazines in 1990’s. Unsurprisingly, the test doesn’t work perfectly for people who are not native speakers of English or for people who come from cultures that are very different from Britain’s.
Should you worry if you got a low score?
No. Your screen lighting level, mood, fatigue and many other factors might have affected your score. The results of this test are useful when they are averaged across many people, but they can be inaccurate for any individual person.”
Check Lab In The Wild if you would like to take the test.
How biased was my interviewer? And he was claiming throughout the interview that he is unbiased! (there’s no such thing as unbiased by the way but that will be discussed in another article)
Thank you research! Thank you skepticism! No one, including myself, can rate my social intelligence. That’s actually because “social intelligence” can take an infinity of forms, some of which we can’t yet understand.
A piece of advice to the reader: Always check the background and the credibility of the person trying to assess you. Only experts in a certain field have the tools and wisdom to assess your ability in that specific field (not even close to assess your intelligence).
Third, if one believes that he/she is not intelligent in a certain area, then one wouldn’t even try if it necessitates.
For example: if we believe that we do not have linguistic intelligence, we would abide by these limiting beliefs thus forbidding ourselves from learning how to find the right words to express what we mean if the situation comes forth. We will hide behind the pretext that we don’t have this intelligence (it’s actually a skill as we will see in part IV) and therefore we will not even try. The lack of will to learn correlates with the lack of personal growth.
The fact that we believe we don’t have a certain “type of intelligence” becomes a limiting belief.
I would like you at this moment to answer the following question: How much of our brain do we use?
Most of us would answer something in the 3-12% range. However…
Despite the popular myth that we use 10 percent of our brain, we actually use 100 percent of it on a daily basis. This is a scientific fact which I personally embrace. Believing that we only use 10% of our brain is a huge limiting belief. Our intellect withers with that belief.
The idea behind the 10% use is just to make room for growth and to show us the huge potential we have as thinking beings. The brain is being upgraded by the second, but it’s always working at 100%, most of it is unconscious.
Fifth, some people use the concept of types of intelligence to justify a certain act or a refusal; we see them saying something like “I’m good in music, I have musical intelligence, so I don’t need to study mathematics or physics because I don’t have the corresponding intelligence”. What is music without mathematics?
So we sometimes use the concept as an excuse to stay lazy in the face of mind growth.
Sixth, we sometimes refrain ourselves to evolve a certain type of intelligence by rebellion toward authority (like parents). Your father wants you to become an engineer so by rebellion you trick yourself into believing that you are not good at math and therefore refrain yourself from making the effort to learn the weapons of math destruction. This belief grows time after time and becomes entrenched in your subconscious.
Seventh, if used erroneously, the concept of types of intelligence might lead to labeling. Labeling is defined as inaccurately/restrictively assigning to a category. Labeling is equivalent to stereotyping – widely holding a fixed and oversimplified image/idea of a particular type of person. Labeling and stereotyping are beyond the scope of this article but needless to say, they are very detrimental to the person being labeled by the (again with sarcasm) cognizant label-er.
Eighth, the level of extraversion and introversion – a concept brought forth by Carl G. Jung, governs some of the types (Dr. Jung says it’s ExtrAverted because ExtrOverted is just bad latin). However, this can only be read above the surface and not at all accurate. Let’s take the case of an individual with high introvert to extravert ratio – remember that we are never totally one of the two; only a mix of both. On the surface, we can see that this person does not have linguistic intelligence since he/she doesn’t express at all and he/she doesn’t sense people’s feelings and motives therefore the interpersonal intelligence is missing.
According to Jung, a highly introvert person actually senses people from the inside and can express in writing or at least within himself. We have chosen the concept of introversion/extraversion to shed light on the glitch in the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Ninth, all these types of intelligence are interdependent; they are intertwined and inter-related. People argue whether we can have them all. To demonstrate that we can indeed have them all, let’s look at the following case study.
Case study: Doctors of medicine
- Doctors practicing medicine at a hospital definitely have the naturalist intelligence since they understand living things.
- They are good at quantifying things, making hypotheses and proving them… logical mathematical intelligence check.
- How about having existential intelligence? Although they might not tackle the questions of why we live and why we die, they certainly tackle their problems! Check check check.
- Doctors deal with patients every day – most of them are experts in facing emotions. They sense people’s feelings and they attenuate them. People’s feelings and emotions at a hospital can get to the highest degrees of euphoria, depression and everything in between. Did I say check?
- Do you think they have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence? Do they coordinate their mind with their body? Is it in play during a surgery? Imagine a doctor not using his mind while performing surgery with his scalpel or using his mind without using his eyes to look at the body laid on the operation table.
- Doctors need to explain to patients and to their relatives a very complex medical situation. They need to communicate the causes, symptoms, remedies and loads of medical information to individuals with no medical education. This falls under the linguistic type of intelligence since they find the right words to express what they mean. Check.
- Intra-personal intelligence is understanding yourself, what you feel, and what you want. Some doctors might have it and some might not. However, it is highly recommended for doctors to understand themselves and how they feel because they face so many life or death situations.
- Doctors visualize the human system when diagnosing. They visualize the organs in four dimensions not just in three. They see how the organ behaves with time. Maybe time should be a type of intelligence as well; Albert Einstein would have it for sure with his relativity theory in his pocket.
- Beep, beep, beep… the rhythm of your pulse taken by your doctor… the best symphony of your world. Musical intelligence gladly checked giving a whole new meaning to “you’ve got the music in you” by New Radicals.
As we can see, like any other professional, a doctor of medicine has highest degrees of all types of intelligence. The example of doctor of medicine is just used as a counter-argument to the theory and to prove that one has all types of intelligence as we will see in part IV. Each one of us has all 9 types and even more.
By more I mean (tenth point) that there are more than 9 “types of intelligence” if we follow Gardner’s theory. Let us work together now to create two more types.
Imagine in your mind’s eye that you get a small cut somewhere on your forearm. After a period of time, the wound will heal by itself even if unattended right? Do you consider it intelligence as I do? In fact, this “type” of intelligence is the most basic and vital type. We take it for granted. It exists to insure our survival in this world. Let’s call it then cellular intelligence. Diabetes or autoimmune diseases translate into a lack (we’ll use the word disturbed in the succeeding parts) of cellular intelligence, i.e., failure to heal a wound naturally.
One type created, one more to go.
We looked so far at emerging types of intelligence and we neglected an important submerging type. The reason for this neglect is that we grasp little of its functioning. The activities of the subconscious mind, happening continuously under the radar, constitute most of our psyche’s activities; the subconscious part of our mind is always working and solving issues faster than all the processors of the world combined. This “subbed intelligence” is overlooked since it is not apparent. Our mind is functioning at 100% whether we are aware of it or not.
We will see in part III how we can benefit from Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences and how we can apply it in the real world. The applications in part III will prepare the ground for the mono-intelligence evolving theory.
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