To my mind, 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 must also entail the potential for finding or creating problems - and thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge. ―Howard Gardner
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:
Intelligence includes the ability to use and learn new languages effectively, as it involves all verbal and written forms of communication. People who have this intelligence are able to express themselves more clearly than others. 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.
Logic, reasoning, and numbers are the prime areas of functionality of this type of intelligence. Mathematically-inclined people analyze problems scientifically, and carry out mathematical operations for deducing reasons and solutions. 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.
The ability to use bodily movements effectively to perform any task or solve a problem is associated with this form. Such kind of people learn and understand better if they are physically and actively involved, rather than reading or hearing about any task. 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.
This rhythmic intelligence is very sensitive to all aspects of music, like rhythm, tone, pitch, sound, and are more inclined towards musical instruments. They are capable of singing, composing, and playing music. 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.
Visual-spatial people are considered as picture-smart and puzzle solvers, as they are very good at recognizing, using, and manipulating patterns, and have a good photogenic memory. 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.
This one is about self-introspection and self-realization. Awareness about self and understanding of our own moods, emotions, fears, motivations, goals, and their limitations is associated with this intelligence. 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.
The ability to interact with others and have a fair understanding of their views, opinions, and feelings is associated with interpersonal intelligence. These people learn from others' experiences, and enjoy helping and empathizing with others. 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.
This type was added in 1997 to Gardner's original theory. People with this type of intelligence are drawn to their natural environment. They have an affinity towards the natural habitat of plants and animals. 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. Some of them are very sensitive to changes in the weather or environment. Naturalistic-inclined people mostly choose to be naturalists, conservationists, gardeners, farmers, and scientists.
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.