The logical-mathematical intelligence is the use of abstract
relationships presented in terms of either numbers or symbols. It
also includes the use of logic and analysis in the sense of
logically organizing an essay or analyzing poetry. Those
possessing the logical-mathematical intelligence enjoy number
games, problem solving, pattern games, and experimenting. They
also do well with writing that involves exposition, argumentation,
definition, classification, and analysis.
The spatial intelligence is the manipulation of objects within a
given space, whether that space is the size of a piece of paper, a
room, a building, or a town. Those possessing the spatial
intelligence respond to visual cues and they like to invent and
The bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to use the body
effectively to solve problems. Those possessing the
bodily-kinesthetic intelligence enjoy dramatics, role-playing,
dancing, and physical expression.
The musical intelligence is the ability to make use of the
relationship between pitch, rhythm, and timbre. Those possessing
the musical intelligence enjoy playing instruments, singing, and
drumming, and they like the sounds of the human voice,
environmental sounds, and instrumental sounds. It has been
described as hearing patterns.
The interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand the
thoughts, beliefs, and intents of others and the ability to
respond appropriately. Those possessing the interpersonal
intelligence are social and are in tune with the feelings of
others. They make excellent leaders, can help their peers, and
work cooperatively with others.
The intrapersonal intelligence is a sense of self-awareness used
to guide individual behavior. Those possessing the intrapersonal
intelligence like to work independently. They are self-motivated
The naturalist intelligence is an understanding of the natural
world and the ability to use that understanding productively.
Those possessing the naturalist intelligence can recognize and
classify elements from the natural world (e.g. farming or
The exact combination of intelligences varies from person to
person. For example, one person might be strong in the
verbal-linguistic and interpersonal intelligences with secondary
strengths in the intrapersonal, spatial, and musical intelligences
and weaknesses in the logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic,
and naturalist intelligences. Another person could have an
entirely different combination of intelligences. Each person's
makeup of intelligences is very similar to DNA; no one has exactly
the same combination of intelligences.
Gardner's criteria for selecting these particular abilities as
intelligences include: independence from other intelligences
(within the brain); having a central set of information-processing
operations; having a distinct developmental history; having roots
in evolutionary history; and having a cultural basis. When Gardner
says that intelligences are independent, he is referring to
separate sections of the brain that control each intelligence and
have distinct methods of processing information. According to an
article by Tina Blythe and Gardner, each intelligence has its own
"distinct mode of thinking."
Gardner's research with brain-injured adults and with autistic
children has indicated that the human brain has separate areas
that control separate functions. For example, Gardner described a
woman who suffered a brain injury and lost the ability to speak,
yet she maintained her ability to sing. This example shows that
the verbal-linguistic intelligence functions separately from the
Gardner makes a distinction between the isolation of each
intelligence within the structure of the human brain and the
isolation of the intelligences when called upon to complete
real-world operations. Intelligences do not work independently of
one another in a real-world setting. According to the theory, most
tasks require the simultaneous use of several intelligences in
order to be completed successfully. Bruce Torff offers the example
of a chess player who must use logic and spatial skills to plan
ahead and figure out moves and must also use interpersonal skills
to figure out the opponent's defense and plan of action. The
intelligences are separate entities which operate in conjunction
with each other to create the whole of each individual's ability.
Visit www.TheWritingTutor.biz/articles/MI-intro-prob.php to learn
more about the multiple intelligences.
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approach curriculum. Expanded Academic ASAP [on-line database].
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Blythe, T., & Gardner, H. (1990). A school for all intelligences.
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Campbell, L., Campbell, B., & Dickinson, D. (1992). Teaching and
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About The Author
Michele R. Acosta is a writer, a former English teacher, and
the mother of three boys. She spends her time writing and
teaching others to write. Visit www.TheWritingTutor.biz/articles
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