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The Multiple Intelligence Theory

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The Theory of Multiple Intelligence


Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory was first published in Howard Gardner’s book, Frames Of Mind (1983), and quickly became established as a classical model by which to understand and teach many aspects of human intelligence, learning style, personality and behaviour – in education and industry. Howard Gardner initially developed his ideas and theory on multiple intelligences as a contribution to psychology, however Gardner’s theory was soon embraced by education, teaching and training communities, for whom the appeal was immediate and irresistible – a sure sign that Gardner had created a classic reference work and learning model.

The theory of multiple intelligences is a theory of intelligence that differentiates it into specific (primarily sensory) “modalities”, rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general abilityGardner articulated seven criteria for a behavior to be considered an intelligence.[Gardner opposes the idea of labeling learners to a specific intelligence. Each individual possesses a unique blend of all the intelligences. Gardner firmly maintains that his theory of multiple intelligences should “empower learners”, not restrict them to one modality of learning.

Gardner argues intelligence is categorized into three primary or overarching categories, those of which are formulated by the abilities. According to Gardner, intelligence is: 1) The ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture, 2) a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life, and 3) the potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.

Intelligence modalities:

1) Musical-rhythmic and harmonic: good at music, rythmn,pitch,tone

2) Visual-spatial: Ability to visualise in mind’s eye

3) Verbal-linguistic: good at reading, spelling, writing

4) Logical-mathematical

5) Bodily-kinesthetic: movement

6) Interpersonal:interactions with others

7) Intrapersonal: self awareness and insight

8) Naturalistic: ecological receptiveness. environmental awareness

9) Existential: religious/spiritual intelligence

The theory of multiple intelligences has often been conflated with learning styles. Gardner has denied that multiple intelligences are learning styles and agrees that the idea of learning styles is incoherent and lacking in empirical evidence.The theory of multiple intelligences is often cited as an example of pseudoscience because it lacks empirical evidence or falsifiability.

Clearly there are many ways to measure intelligence and systems that do not approach human intelligence holistically will surely only obtain a limited understanding of what human intelligence is all about.

Mandy X



Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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