The generally accepted view of intelligence is that it is about cognitive or mental ability. Charles Spearman, one of the early pioneers in thinking about intelligence called it the ‘g’ factor, and intelligence tests have been designed to measure it.
However, few people now believe that intelligence is a concept that can be described in such simple terms, and some have sought to explore our understanding of intelligence more fully.
The best known and by far the most influential theory is that of ‘multiple intelligence’ as set out by a Harvard University Professor, Howard Gardner, in 1983. He defined multiple intelligence as a set of abilities, talents or mental skills that all individuals possess to a greater or lesser extent. Gardner identified seven different kinds of intelligence. (He has since considered the existence and definitions of other possible intelligences in his later work.) He argued that individuals differ only in the level of their skills and how these intelligences combine.
Gardner’s multiple intelligences
Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences can be summarised as follows:
Linguistic Intelligence (word smart) refers to the ability to use words and language, both written and spoken. Such learners have highly developed auditory skills and are fluent speakers. They think in words rather than pictures. Their skills include listening, speaking, writing, story telling, explaining and teaching.
Logical Intelligence (logic smart) refers to the ability to reason, apply logic and work with numbers. Such learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns, making connections between pieces of information. Their skills include problem solving, classifying and categorising information, thinking logically, questioning, carrying out investigations, performing mathematical calculations and working with geometric shapes.
Visual-spatial Intelligence (picture smart) refers to the...