Intelligence is often considered how well you score in tests or what your grades are in school. In the 1900s French psychologist Alfred Binet tried to come up with some kind of measure that would predict the success or failure of children in the primary grades of schools. The result was the forerunner of the standard IQ test we use today. This gave us a dimension of mental ability by which we could compare everyone. In the 1980s Harvard University psychologist, Howard Gardner had a pluralistic view of the mind, and recognized the many discrete facets of cognition. Gardner defines intelligences as the ability to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural settings. (Gardner) He acknowledged that people have different cognitive strengths as well as different cognitive styles.
The first is cognitive. Out of this came Gardner's "theory of multiple intelligences." (Gardner).
When a child learns to play the piano, he is learning several skills. The training he receives in learning the piano skills, it helps enhance his mathematical skills, and vise versa. The standard IQ test measures, traditionally, how intelligent a person is based on Math and English. All other areas that a person may excel in or have natural ability in, are not taken into consideration.
We need to remember that each individual is unique and each one has one’s own set of talents, gifts, and abilities.
Gardner, in his theory of multiple intelligences, has identified eight intelligences. These areas in a culture, are valued as having the ability to solve a problem or create a product in a particular way. The intelligences are like talents and gifts and many combinations of the eight are possible.
Gardners' eight intelligences are:
- Linguistic intelligence ("word smart"):
- Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")
- Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")
- Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")
- Musical intelligence ("music smart")
- Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")
- Intrapersonal intelligence ("self smart")
- Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")