Posted by: kenwbudd | February 20, 2009

Categories of intelligence

The categories of intelligence proposed by Howard Gardner are:

Bodily-kinesthetic

This area has to do with bodily movement. People who have this intelligence usually learn better by getting up and moving around, and are generally good at physical activities such as sports or dance. They may enjoy acting or performing, and in general they are good at building and making things. They often learn best by doing something physically, rather than reading or hearing about it. Those with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence seem to use what might be termed muscle memory – they remember things through their body such as verbal memory or images.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include athletes, dancers, actors, surgeons, doctors, builders, and soldiers. Although these careers can be duplicated through virtual simulation they will not produce the actual physical learning that is needed in this intelligence.

Interpersonal

This area has to do with interaction with others. People who have a high interpersonal intelligence tend to be extroverts, characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. They communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They typically learn best by working with others and often enjoy discussion and debate.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include politicians, managers, teachers, and social workers.

Verbal-linguistic

This area has to do with words, spoken or written. People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and discussion and debate. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.

This intelligence is highest in writers, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, politicians and teachers.

Logical-mathematical

This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, and numbers. While it is often assumed that those with this intelligence naturally excel in mathematics, chess, computer programming and other logical or numerical activities, a more accurate definition places emphasis on traditional mathematical ability and more reasoning capabilities, abstract patterns of recognition, scientific thinking and investigation, and the ability to perform complex calculations. It correlates strongly with traditional concepts of “intelligence” or IQ.

Many scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors and economists function in this level of intelligences.

Naturalistic

This area has to do with nature, nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. This type of intelligence was not part of Gardner’s original theory of Multiple Intelligences, but was added to the theory in 1997. Those with it are said to have greater sensitivity to nature and their place within it, the ability to nurture and grow things, and greater ease in caring for, taming and interacting with animals. They may also be able to discern changes in weather or similar fluctuations in their natural surroundings. Recognizing and classifying things are at the core of a naturalist. They must connect a new experience with prior knowledge to truly learn something new.

“Naturalists” learn best when the subject involves collecting and analyzing, or is closely related to something prominent in nature; they also don’t enjoy learning unfamiliar or seemingly useless subjects with little or no connections to nature. It is advised that naturalistic learners would learn more through being outside or in a kinesthetic way.

The theory behind this intelligence is often criticized, much like the spiritual or existential intelligence (see below), as it is seen by many as not indicative of an intelligence but rather an interest.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners and farmers.

Intrapersonal

This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. Those who are strongest in this intelligence are typically introverts and prefer to work alone. They are usually highly self-aware and capable of understanding their own emotions, goals and motivations. They often have an affinity for thought-based pursuits such as philosophy. They learn best when allowed to concentrate on the subject by themselves. There is often a high level of perfectionism associated with this intelligence.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include philosophers, psychologists, theologians, writers and scientists.

Visual-spatial (Spatial reasoning)

This area has to do with vision and spatial judgment. People with strong visual-spatial intelligence are typically very good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects. Those with strong spatial intelligence are often proficient at solving puzzles. They have a strong visual memory and are often artistically inclined. Those with visual-spatial intelligence also generally have a very good sense of direction and may also have very good hand-eye coordination, although this is normally seen as a characteristic of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Some critics point out the high correlation between the spatial and mathematical abilities, which seems to disprove the clear separation of the intelligences as Gardner theorized. Since solving a mathematical problem involves reassuringly manipulating symbols and numbers, spatial intelligence is involved in visually changing the reality. A thorough understanding of the two intelligences precludes this criticism, however, as the two intelligences do not precisely conform to the definitions of visual and mathematical abilities. Although they may share certain characteristics, they are easily distinguished by several factors, and there are many with strong logical-mathematical intelligence.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include artists, engineers, and architects.

Musical

This area has to do with rhythm, music, and hearing. Those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic intelligence display greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. They normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. Since there is a strong auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may learn best via lecture. In addition, they will often use songs or rhythms to learn and memorize information, and may work best with music playing in the background.

Careers that suit those with this intelligence include instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, and composers.

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