Psychologist and professor of neuroscience named Howard Gardner introduced the theory of Multiple Intelligence in 1983. Dr. Gardner believed that people have several different intelligences that helped them interact with the world them. The ways people perceive different fields of education and how their cognitive function decodes the information was said to be on many different levels of intelligence. Dr. Gardner specified nine different intelligences; however, only eight of these are widely known. When a person exhibits a combination of different perceptions of the environment and his or her education, the person is said to be using different intelligences. Understanding the combination of multiple intelligences can allow people to increase their chances of success in their educations and future or present careers. The ability to identify personal intelligences can provide insight into the types of professions that the person will be successful and happy doing. Herein, three of Dr. Gardner’s known Multiple Intelligences will be discussed. One such intelligence is Naturalist intelligence.
As the word suggests, naturalist intelligence is “nature smarts” and mainly focuses on the elements of the Earth (Kowalski and Westen, 2009, Pinwheel Diagram, p. 279). It is said that people who have the naturalist intelligence are likely to become botanists, professional cooks, and farmers. When a person is in tune with the elements, he or she is likely to show signs of more advanced pallets and will be more successful in identifying the tastes of foods when blind folded than people who have other types of intelligences. Naturalist intelligent people can recognize and categorize elements of the environment. This ability is useful in identifying different plants, animals, and other aspects of nature. Farmers who have naturalist intelligence are able to grow better crops because of their ability to identify the quality of soil and fertilizers. Dr. Gardner believed that naturalist intelligence was responsible for people being “One with the Earth.” Because of their ability to quickly learn and adapt to the environment, people with this intelligence often find solace in doing homework outside, under a shade tree and often work in some outdoor field in adulthood. Natural science teachers can keep the students’ attentions because of the way in which they bring nature to life in the classroom. Naturalist intelligence can improve a person’s chances of success in psychology if the person chooses to help his or her clients in the great outdoors. The feeling of the wind on the skin and the sound of birds or running water can help the client picture a place of peace and harmony. The client is likely to have more breakthroughs if he or she does not feel confined or restricted. The direct opposite of naturalist intelligence is spatial intelligence.
According to Kowalski et. al. (2009), spatial intelligence is “The use of mental maps” (A Theory of Multiple Intelligences, p. 279, para. 2). In order to use spatial intelligence, a person must be able to use his or her mind to solve problems, manipulate objects, and most other feats of the mind. People who are avid video gamers are said to have better spatial intelligence than other people because they use their minds and reasoning to advance through the games’ levels. Spatial intelligence is also associated with hand-eye coordination. People who exhibit spatial intelligence often excel in fields involving logic, such as chess, art, and science. Psychologists can use the arts to help the clients express their feelings through drawing, painting, and sculpting. Another profession that is enhanced with spatial intelligence is professional loader/ mover. In order to properly pack a load, the mover must see the shapes and sizes of each box in his or her mind. The mover can then pack the load without hesitation and is more likely to be successful than someone who exhibits less spatial intelligence. When a client is not comfortable with talking about the feelings inside, expressional art can help the psychologist understand what is happening and why. This method is often used when treating children. The last intelligence that will be discussed is bodily-kinesthetic.
Bodily-kinesthetic is a two part word meaning the combination of the mental control and the body. Dr. Gardner saw that the mind and body are related and need to work together. According to Kowalski et. al. (2009), bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the “The control over the body” (A Theory of Multiple Intelligences, p. 279, para. 2). When the mind and body work together harmoniously the person will feel more at ease working with his or her hands, feet, arms, and entire bodies. More often than not, people with the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are likely to be great dancers, athletes, and the preforming arts. The mental ability to maintain complete control of the body while moving in unison with music or sports games will increase the person’s chances of becoming successful in many fields; including psychology. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is useful in psychology because the art of dance can help the clients focus on the good in the world because of the feeling that the person gets when listening to soothing or happy music. Psychologists can also use athletic moves or sports to encourage the clients to be the people they really want to be instead of hiding their true identities.
There are many intelligences that are used together in order to help humans interact with the environment. Although there are eight known multiple intelligences, most people are unaware of the way the intelligences work together to help them become the kind of people who are happy with their lives, as well as, their chosen profession. The multiple intelligences can be used successfully in all fields of psychology because of the different methods that can be utilized for the clients to connect with their inner selves. The type of therapies used depends on the problem that the client may be experiencing. The arts can help the clients connect with the true meaning of their feelings through the expression of paintings. Sports can help clients express their inner desires, while dancing can calm feelings of hatred, sadness, and depression. Dr. Gardner created the multiple intelligences because he felt that people would better understand themselves and the environment if they knew how they learned and why they interacted with their surroundings the way they did. Understanding the multiple intelligences can increase the likelihood of success in the person’s chosen field of employment.
Kowalski, R. & Westen, D. (2009). Psychology (5th ed.). Retrieved from University of Phoenix, PSY300 website.
Image source for Howard Gardners: Fun Music Company. (2015). “Musical intelligence”: Applying Howard Gardner’s theory to music education. Retrieved from http://funmusicco.com/musical-intelligence-applying-howard-gardners-theory-to-music-education/
Image source for intelligences: Brain DMA. (2014). Multiple intelligences. Retrieved from http://www.braindma.com/intelligence.aspx