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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Multiple Intelligences

Multiple Intelligences

Our society generally focuses on the highly linguistic person who reads and writes well and on the logical thinker. Yet the other forms of intelligence are equally important to the wellbeing of the individual and our culture.

Research conducted over many years by psychologist Howard Gardner at Harvard University has shown that there are many different ways of being smart. Gardner has identified eight different kinds of intelligence:

  • Linguistic (word-smart)
  • Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning-smart)
  • Spatial (picture-smart)
  • Bodily-kinesthetic (body-smart)
  • Musical (music-smart)
  • Interpersonal (people-smart)
  • Intrapersonal (self-smart)
  • Naturalist (nature-smart)
  • Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning-smart)
  • Spatial (picture-smart)
  • Bodily-kinesthetic (body-smart)
  • Musical (music-smart)
  • Interpersonal (people-smart)
  • Intrapersonal (self-smart)
  • Naturalist (nature-smart)

Every person has all eight intelligences, but in different proportions. Some people excel in several, others have special difficulties in many of the intelligences, and most of us are somewhere in between, with one of more intelligences that we find very easy to use, others that are so-so, and one or more that we may have great difficulty in using.

Gardner's identification of multiple intelligences encourages us to look at an individual's potential in a more holistic way than by simply focusing on IQ. It also gives us a way of looking at the complete picture of a learner's potential so that any neglected abilities will also be honored and developed.


Howard Gardner, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century (Basic Books, 1999).


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