Multiple Intelligences Measure Talent, Not IQ

Copyright 2011 Nina Sunday. All rights reserved.

Eveyone Has Strengths and Talents – What’s Yours?

It’s easy to go through life thinking some kids are smart, some kids are dumb. But if someone is poor at Maths and English yet talented at Art, are they ‘dumb’? What if someone can build a motorcycle from spare parts but doesn’t excel at written tests?

Stop and consider how people can be intelligent in different ways.  In fact, educator Howard Gardner listed eight intelligences. Can you guess what they are?

Do this quiz

Answer these questions corresponding to the eight intelligences:

  1. Do you like to read and write? Are you good at languages?
  2. Are you good at maths and solving problems?
  3. Do you remember songs easily? Do you enjoy playing a musical instrument?
  4. Are you good at art? Can you read a map or floor plan? Are you able to take things apart and easily put them back together?
  5. Do you have a good sense of balance? Can you dance well? Are you good with your hands?
  6. Do you like to mix with others? Do you belong to any clubs? Are you good at sharing?
  7. Do you enjoy working on your own? Do you keep a personal diary or journal?
  8. Do you enjoy being in nature? Can you name birds and plants?

Educators now question whether IQ is an accurate assessment of a person’s ability.  In 1983 Harvard Professor, Howard Gardner1 proposed his Theory of Multiple Intelligences to include these seven abilities:

  1. linguistic (word smart) – ability to read, write and communicate.
  2. logical-mathematical (number smart) – ability to reason, calculate and think in a logical manner.
  3. musical (music smart) – ability to make or compose music or understand and appreciate it.
  4. visual / spatial (picture smart) – ability to think in pictures and visualise a result.
  5. bodily / kinaesthetic (body smart) – ability to use your body skilfully.
  6. interpersonal (people smart) – ability to work effectively with others.
  7. intrapersonal (self smart) – ability for self-analysis and reflection.

Recently Gardner added an eighth intelligence:

  1. naturalist (nature smart) – ability to appreciate nature and the outdoors.

What does it all mean?

Gardner observed that school and our culture tend to focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. Stop and consider how people can be intelligent in different ways.  Feel good about what you’re good at, and admire others for where their abilities lie.


Here’s Howard Gardner talking about Multiple Intelligences. Click arrow to play.

Work cited
Howard E. Gardner, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Basic Books; 10th Edition (April 21, 1993)


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