Your Ten Intelligences

The Concept of Multiple Intelligences

Instead of a single, rather static aptitude, as measured in traditional IQ tests, the leading scientists of today, have proposed a dynamic and multifaceted set of several different intelligences described below. This is a concept of cognitive aptitudes that embraces human evolution because the appreciation of human cognition in its fullness empowers individuals to develop and take advantage of their inner resources. Thanks to Howard Gardner, a psychologist from Harvard and author of several books, we can now utilize and take advantage of his groundbreaking work in scientifically discerning several distinct realms of human intelligence. He conceptualized an intelligence, as a potential to process information that can be used to solve problems or create products that are of value in a certain culture.

Take some time to carefully read the descriptions of each of the 10 following intelligences and identify the ones you use personally. This is not an intelligence test because a score would not tell you what you would achieve in life; it is the interaction of the different intelligences that you have, your character including your personal values and your external environment, which will ultimately predict your future personal and professional accomplishments.

The first two intelligences, the verbal-linguistic and the logical-mathematical, are the ones that are typically measured in traditional IQ tests and have increasingly shaped our perception of who is and is not intelligent. However, in light of developing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, which may soon surpass the human brain in many logical and linguistic feats, it is vital to reframe our notion of intelligence.

To utilize and expand your full intellectual potential, take a minute to understand all of the ten currently identified intelligences and try nurturing these potentials in your daily life. Each of us is equipped with a unique blend of these intellectual potentials, and each of us can mobilize, expand or connect according to our own inclinations and intentions.

Evaluate Your Ten Intelligences

1. Verbal-Linguistic: Entails the ability to use spoken and written language to achieve certain goals. Leaders, lawyers, speakers, writers, poets and journalists are examples of people who have linguistic intelligence. James Joyce and William Shakespeare had superior verbal-linguistic abilities.

2. Logical-Mathematical: Involves the ability to analyze logically and carry out mathematical operations in order to answer questions or to create useful products. Mathematicians, statisticians, logicians, accountants, bankers, scientists etc. use logical-mathematical intelligence. Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin were exceedingly gifted in this domain.

3. Interpersonal Intelligence: Individuals with interpersonal intelligence have the ability to understand the motivations, intentions, and desires of other people. As a result, they are very effective in working with others. Political leaders, managers, salespeople, educators, clinicians and coaches are examples of professionals who need a sharp interpersonal intelligence to be successful in their fields. Two examples in this field would be President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

4. Intrapersonal Intelligence: This involves the capacity to understand oneself and to develop effective personal strategies in oneís own life, taking into account oneís capacities, inclinations, aspirations, and fears. General George S. Patton, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Wolf are examples of self-smart individuals. Interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence have also been proposed as emotional intelligence. Both are of growing importance in this new millennium.

5. Musical Intelligence: Entails the ability in the appreciation, performance, and composition of music. It doesnít make sense to call musical intelligence a gift and logical-mathematical reasoning intelligence. In small kids this talent becomes apparent when they show the ability to discern between rhythms, instruments or when being attracted to singing or playing an instrument. Like the following two intelligences, musical intelligence can be put to many other uses. They can be used to lose track of mundane concerns, alter perception, make inferences about patterns in other domains, and feel enriched and ennobled while engaging in these activities. Artists such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan demonstrated exceptional musical intelligence.

6. Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence: Individuals who are body smart, can use their whole body or parts of their body to solve problems or create products. Athletes and actors such as Pete Sampras and Denzel Washington are examples of professionals that utilize bodily kinesthetic intelligence.

7. Spatial Intelligence: Individuals with spatial intelligence excel at recognizing and manipulating information concerning the patterns of space. Hunters, pilots, navigators, sculptors, chess players, surgeons, graphic artists, and architects are examples of people who need this special capacity. Leonardo da Vinciís special gifts in this domain helped accelerate our understanding of three-dimensional representation.

8. Naturalist Intelligence: Entails the core ability to recognize members of different species, the flora and fauna, of his or her environment. It is the talent of caring for and interacting with living creatures and recognizing patterns that can be used in many different areas like social sciences, art, poetry and financial markets among others. Charles Darwin used his naturalist intelligence to profoundly influence our thinking about human evolution.

9. Spiritual Intelligence: While the previous eight intelligences seem straightforward, spirituality yields a far more complex picture. Although it does not fulfill the classic scientific criteria of a separate intelligence it is of great importance to many individuals across cultures. Within different cultures there is reasonable consensus on who has the ability of envisioning the transcendent, or connecting with psychic and spiritual phenomena. Great religious leaders also have had the ability to influence others such as Buddha, Christ and Confucius.

10. Existential Intelligence: Entails the capacity to locate oneself with respect to the furthest reaches of the cosmos, the infinite and the infinitesimal, and the related capacity to locate oneself with respect to existential features of human existence such as the meaning of life, the meaning of death and includes aspects of social, moral and emotional existence. The Dalai Lama provides us with an example of excellence in discerning existential patterns. A good marker for later existential intelligence is the early-emerging concern with cosmic issues of the sort reported by Gandhi or Albert Einstein.

Simone Silvestri