As of today, psychologists still can’t decide on a concrete definition of intelligence. However, Psychologist Edwin Boring found a way to capture the concept of intelligence. He simply said that “intelligence is whatever intelligence tests measure” (Bernstein, 2011). Some psychologists accept this definition, yet others don’t due to the fact that this explanation goes around the critical question of what makes some people smarter than others. In an effort to go beyond this definition, Howard Gardner theorized the concept of multiple intelligences which helps to explain why it’s not possible to say that one person is necessarily smarter than another.
According to the theory of multiple intelligences there are various “frames of mind” or various ways of thinking about the world. Gardner believes that each frame of mind is a “different and fully independent intelligence in its own right” (Bernstein, 2011). One of the main arguments for the reason of different intelligences is from an evolutionary perspective. Essentially, different intelligences exist because it gives organisms a better chance of survival. In 1999, Gardner came up with eight unique intelligences varying from linguistic and spatial to musical and interpersonal intelligences.
Firstly, verbal or linguistic intelligence is one type of intelligence that pertains to one’s ability to speak and write well. This intelligence is believed to be possessed by everyone at some level. Some examples include reading, writing, speaking, and others types of communication. People with a high level of this intelligence typically include authors, poets, lawyers, and politicians. A few examples of people with high linguistic intelligence are Oprah Winfrey, Barrack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.
Secondly, body-kinesthetic intelligence is generally related to the ability to manipulate the body in sports, dance, or other physical activities. People that exhibit a high level of body-kinesthetic intelligence usually like to constantly move, touch others around them, and act things out. These people typically succeed at small and large muscle skills. One real world example of a person with a high level of body-kinesthetic intelligence is professional soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Standing at six feet and two inches tall, Ronaldo is sheer muscle. In addition, his ability to navigate a soccer ball through an entire defense at lightning speed is remarkable. He is one of the strongest and quickest players in the world. There is no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo has a very high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence due to these physical feats.
Logical/mathematical intelligence is another intelligence that relies on the use of logic and mathematical skills to solve problems such as scientific questions. People strong in this intelligence are able to analyze and interpret data very well. They are also good at understanding relationships and seeing patterns. Those with a high level of logico-mathematical intelligence tend to be very analytical and oriented toward deductive reasoning. A real life example of someone with an extraordinary level of logical intelligence is Chris Langan. Like many geniuses, Langan was a child prodigy. According to reports, he began to talk at six months of age and taught himself to read by age three. Also, he scored a 195 on a standard IQ test. However the psychologist who administered the test had to estimate it because the scores on standard intelligence quotient tests don’t go up that high. Not only did Langan receive a perfect score on his SAT, he dropped out of two colleges because he believed that he knew more than his professors.
Furthermore, he wrote a book presenting his “Cognitive-Theoretical Model of the Universe,” a comprehensive theory relating the mind to reality. The most fascinating part of Chris Langan is what he does for a living. For 20 years, Langan has worked as a bar bouncer, construction worker, and firefighter. Today, he works on a farm in Missouri with his wife. All in all, Chris Langan has an astonishingly high level of logical-mathematical intelligence due to his incredible intellectual achievements (Bernstein, 2011).
In conclusion, Gardner’s research has elicited some mixed responses from the scientific community. For example, one argument critics have is that Gardner’s model is too ambiguous and tough to test. Also, critics argue why certain mental capacities qualify as multiple intelligences but others do not. According to Gardner’s principles, humor and memory should also be included in the multiple intelligences. Furthermore, scientists argue that some of Gardner’s intelligences such as bodily-kinesthetic intelligence more closely embody talents that rely predominantly on non-mental abilities like athletic skills. Additionally, since there are no formal tests created to measure these multiple intelligences, Gardner’s model is hard to falsify. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Gardner deserves credit for underscoring the point that all intelligent people aren’t smart in the same way.
Bernstein, Douglas A., Louis A. Penner, Alison Clarke-Stewart, and Edward J. Roy.Psychology: UF Coordinated General Psychology Program. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.