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Multiple Intelligences - Applied Psychology

The concept of multiple intelligences has led the evolution of terms describing different types of intelligence, such as Emotional Literacy, from a number of sources in recent years. Many psychologists have been uneasy about viewing intelligence a simple unitary entity. Howard Gardner conceived the multiple intelligences in the following way.

Linguistic / Verbal
Intrapersonal (Gardner, 1983)

Linguistic / Verbal intelligence refers to skill such as reading, writing and understanding what people say.

Spatial-Motor intelligence indicates how well the person can do things such as read a map or pack suitcases in car so they all fit.

Logical-Mathematical intelligence concerns solving maths problems, checking a supermarket bill and logical reasoning.

Musical intelligence refers to skills such as playing musical instruments or appreciating the structure of a piece of music.

Bodily-Kinaesthetic intelligence includes imitating gestures, dancing and running.
Interpersonal intelligence is about relating to other people (eg understanding another person’s behaviour or feelings).

Intrapersonal intelligence is about understanding ourselves and how we can change ourselves.

Interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences are seen as key aspects of Emotional Literacy. However there is little evidence that there are actually seven different intelligences. Indeed Gardner has since added spiritual intelligence to his list while other workers have suggested different numbers and definitions of intelligences eg Guilford and Hoepfner 1971 who defined 120 intelligences!

Nevertheless, many people do find the concept of multiple intelligences very useful, particularly as a way of considering and looking for the variety of different skills that we all have. This also fits in well with the push in recent years in education and psychotherapy of looking for and using the strengths of individuals as a way of bringing about positive change.

Stephen Bayliss - Chartered Psychologist:

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