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The Eight Forms of Intelligence Research Paper


Introduction

Researchers and scholars have conducted a myriad of studies to make inquiries on life’s deepest questions whose answers have proved quite elusive to many inquisitive minds. Ancient philosophers and psychologists sought to tackle issues that perplexed the populace of the world’s nations.

They accomplished this goal by rolling out a plethora of inventions and postulating theories and theorems that attempted to bring meaning to some of life’s fundamental questions. The perception of humans as intelligent beings isolated from other animals has elicited immense attention from different quarters. Studies have revealed that human beings possess a quality called ‘intelligence’.

Gardner defines it as “the ability to solve problems or create products that are valued in one or more cultural environments” (5). With such a definition in place, Howard went ahead to propose a theory that has been generally acclaimed worldwide, viz. the theory of Multiple Intelligence.

The focus of this research paper is to examine the eight forms of intelligence as proposed by Howard Gardner in his theory to see if they are existent within the domains of human existence.

The concept of Human Intelligence

After introducing the theory, Howard was quick to point out that an educator was in a better position to show the world how this theory worked (McKenzie 11). Intelligence is a complex concept, which many scholars attempted to explain before Howard’s theory, with little success.

Psychologists were the first to attempt to define intelligence in a manner that Howard came to perceive later as a form of technical intelligence. The concept has since evolved and over the years, psychologists such as J.P. Guilford came to suggest that there existed various factors or components within the larger concept of intelligence (Gardner 6).

Howard developed the idea of multiple intelligences by building on the ideas of the pioneering psychologists. The pioneers merely hinted that there were components to intelligence, but Howard went ahead to develop what came to be known as the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He coined it to cover all the abilities that a well-developed human being will exhibit at a given age.

Notably, a young child is not a prodigy at birth, but s/he develops the mastery of his or her various faculties as s/he grows. Mother’s lap “is the first school of learning…

A child has got a very warm contact with her mother and due to this strong and lasting contact a mother’s behavior, her socialization, her language, and her education exercises a very deep influence on a child personality, and thus a child cognitive abilities and intelligence are directly affected” (Shahzada 373).

In this statement, Shahzada propagates the idea that the development of a child’s faculties is subject to the immediate external environment. The effect of the external environment on an individual especially of tender age is what tends to bring out the full manifestation of such an individual’s intelligence.

The forms of Intelligence

In his theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard examined the concept of intelligence and came up with the following eight forms of intelligences, which have largely been advocated by proponents of his theory.

They include “verbal or linguistic intelligence, logical or mathematical intelligence, visual or spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence and naturalistic intelligence” (Shahzada 375). There is a complete disconnect from the traditional perspective, which only acknowledged two forms of intelligence, viz. linguistic and mathematical (Shahzada 374).

Howard seemed to acknowledge the fact that the manifestation of the intelligence is intertwined with the teaching-learning process when he hinted that educators were better placed to manifest the intelligence in the classroom. Therefore, when discussing the different forms of intelligence, they cannot be completely isolated from instruction and learning.

Verbal/ Linguistic intelligence

This form of intelligence encompasses an individual’s ability to “express him/herself both orally and in writing, which includes the ability to master foreign languages as well” (McKenzie 12). Persons who manifest proper development of this form of intelligence are considered as ‘word smart’ and they are informally referred to as “wordsmiths”.

They are capable of maneuvering their way around words in ways that are not easily conceivable by an individual who is averagely developed or lacking in this area. This intelligence, being one of the two conventional forms of intelligence, has been largely explored and according to McKenzie, it has been emphasized in the past as it matches what instructors and educators have taught in class, viz. lectures, recitation, textbooks, and board work.

Logical/ Mathematical Intelligence

This form of intelligence allows an individual to be a problem solver (McKenzie 12). A person possessing this form of intelligence has “the capacity to use numbers effectively and reason well” (Shahzada 374). This form of intelligence also had a place in the ranks of traditional instruction where it was the only form of intelligence alongside linguistic intelligence (McKenzie 12).

The emphasis that this form of intelligence is accorded even at present can be attributed to this earlier scenario. Many people still view logical intelligence as being superior to other forms of intelligence, which is further compounded by education and evaluation systems of many nations across the world.

It is difficult for one to be taken seriously especially at the point of entry into various fields of professional training without manifesting reasonable ability in logical or mathematical intelligence.

Visual/ Spatial Intelligence

This form of intelligence allows people to fathom information presented in the form of charts, graphs, maps, tables, puzzles, pictures, and other forms of visual-spatial presentation of information (McKenzie 12). The capacity of to picture an idea in the mind or come up with solutions to given problems in mind before voicing them out is a manifestation of this form of intelligence (McKenzie 12).

Although it is not among the traditional forms of intelligence, this form of intelligence is vividly conceivable, and thus it cannot be ignored. Its importance in an instructional setting stems from the fact that most information that students come across in many disciplines is presented in the visual-spatial form, which calls for the development of this form of intelligence in order to achieve meaningful progress in the said disciplines.

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence or simply kinesthetic intelligence is a form of intelligence that enables an individual to become a virtuoso in using his/her entire body to express ideas and feelings and it facilitates the use of one’s hand to produce or transform things around him/her (Shahzada 375).

Individuals who manifest proper development in this form of intelligence are more at home with hands-on learning environments. Kinesthetic intelligence is promoted via fine and gross motor activities (McKenzie 12), which means that from fine art to masonry, acrobatics to gymnastics and carpentry to metal work, one is dwelling in the circles prescribed by this form of intelligence.

Musical Intelligence

In this form of intelligence, masters show abilities in patterns such as “songs, poetry, instruments, environmental sounds, and rhythms… An individual who manifests musical intelligence is able to perceive, discriminate, transform, and express musical forms all in the environment around them” (Shahzada 375).

In environments where one ‘ordinary person’ would be bedeviled by confused and unorganized noise, a ‘music intelligent’ person is capable of singling out rhythmical sounds and patterns that when pieced together will produce a beautiful piece of music. The closely knitted relationship between music and poetry explains why these individuals also have their way around poetry.

Interpersonal intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence causes an individual in its possession to “perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people” (Shahzada 375). Students who manifest this form of intelligence thrive in settings where they can freely interact with their colleagues and engage them in discussions where they can ask questions and get answers.

They understand best in this kind of settings, and thus they are considered as social people (McKenzie 12). This aspect means that if such an individual if left alone to tackle a given problem, s/he would be lost on ways of forging ahead, yet when in the company of others, s/he provides useful insights, which motivate and direct others on what to do.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

This form of intelligence is concerned with “self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge” (Shahzada 375). An individual possessing this kind of intelligence at advanced levels is capable of taking his/her time to look deep inside and try to connect this with the prevailing circumstances to make meaning out of it all.

These individuals examine the content of the curriculum and ask why they have to learn a given concept in it or how that affects them. In other words, the individuals would try to make meaningfulness out of curriculum (McKenzie 12). In a school setting, if students realize that what is being learned is importance to them, they will always strive to learn better.

Naturalistic Intelligence

This form of intelligence underscores categories and hierarchies (McKenzie 12). A person in possession of naturalistic intelligence will exhibit talent in recognition and classification. Issues that to another person would seem a hopeless situation would not present any difficulty this type of person by any means.

Such individuals are capable of organizing plants and animals for instance, into various categories that fit them perfectly if given the opportunity to do so (Shahzada 375).

Conclusion

The multiple intelligence theory as developed by Howard covers almost all types of people. The systematic and detailed explanation of each of the intelligences and their areas of application helps one to understand that indeed a human being is a being of multiple intelligences.

Although not all people manifest these intelligence equally, or any single individual manifests all the intelligence at equal levels, it is important to note that all those who manifest any given form of intelligence really show the characteristics that Howard and the proponents of his theory described. The eight forms of intelligence truly exist amongst different people across the world.

Works Cited

Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, New York: Basic Books, 1993. Print.

McKenzie, Walter. Multiple Intelligences and Instructional Technology, Washington DC: International Society for Technology in Education, 2005. Print.

Shahzada, Gulap. “Mother’s Education and Students’ Multiple Intelligences.” Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences 2.2 (2011): 373-377. Print.

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