According to Howard Gardner, a human intellectual competence must entail a set of skills of problem solving - enabling the individual to resolve genuine problems or difficulties that he or she encounters and, when appropriate, to create an effective product.
And it must also entail the potential for finding or creating problems - and thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge.
Howard Gardner found the notion of intelligence through an intelligence quotient (I.Q.) test to be very limited. He believed that people had different levels of intelligence, potential, and a unique cognitive profile, and to subscribe them to just one kind was like arresting their mental growth.
Gardner first proposed the theory of multiple intelligence in 1983, in his book Frames of Mind. According to his book, the first two intelligences are given more prominence in educational establishments, the next three are more inclined towards arts, and the last two are personal intelligences. Following is Gardner's theory of eight multiple intelligences:
They are more inclined to reading, writing, memorizing words, and participating in discussion and debate. According to Howard, novelists, poets, writers, those in the field of journalism, philosophers, teachers, and even politicians are among those having a high verbal linguistic intelligence.
The traditional concepts of numerical reasoning, abstract patterns, logical thinking, and investigation, intelligence or IQ, are related to this intelligence. Scientists, engineers, doctors, economists, and those working in the field of mathematics are often associated with this type of intelligence.
They are good at building or making things with their hands. Kinesthetically intelligent people are generally dancers, athletes, surgeons, builders, and soldiers. Besides possessing physical strength, Howard believes they are mentally strong too.
Their auditory senses are very heightened, and they are quick to grasp all information about music tones just by hearing them. Gardner has drawn parallels between this and linguistic intelligences. Musically-inclined people generally choose to be instrumentalists, composers, conductors, singers, and disc-jockeys.
They have a good sense of direction or mapping and eye-hand coordination, which makes them artistically and creatively inclined. This intelligence is associated with architects, engineers, and artists.
They are considered as perfectionists and are mostly introverts, who learn best when left alone with their thoughts. Intrapersonal intelligent people make good scientists, psychologists, philosophers, theologians, and writers.
People-smart is what they are often termed as, and are generally found to be in professions requiring communication skills, like educators, social workers, religious and political leaders, and sales people.
The word 'green thumb' is associated with them, as they have the ability to grow and nurture things. They enjoy the company of animals, and are good at caring, taming, and interacting with them.
Gardner added more types of intelligences in the later years, like spiritual, existential, and moral; however, these types were heavily criticized as they were not indicative of intelligence, but personal interest.
Although his theory is still plagued with a number of unanswered questions, it has been most useful to educators, who have broadened their concepts of an intelligent student, to accommodate all kinds of intelligences.