Theory of Multiple Intelligences



Theory of


The Theory of Multiple Intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner. His theory suggests the traditional concept of intelligence, based simply on I.Q., is too limited and restricted. Gardner believes that people are not just book or math smart, but possess multiple types of intelligences. He proposes there are at least eight or nine different types of intelligences that account for a broader range of human potential.

These intelligences are:

  • Verbal-Linguistic
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Spatial-Visual
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Musical-Rhythmic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalistic
  • Existential




About the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner outlined his theory in his book “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” In his book, he asserted that all people have different kinds of “intelligences.” Gardner’s originally suggested that there were seven kinds of intelligences. Over the years, he has added more types of intelligences (currently nine).


Verbal-Linguistic = Language and word smart

Logical-mathematical = number and reasoning smart

Spatial-visual = mental image smart

Bodily-kinesthetic = body control smart

Musical-rhythmic = sound smart

Interpersonal = people smart

Intrapersonal = self smart

Naturalistic = nature smart

Existential = spiritually smart



The Multiple Intelligences Described


Verbal-Linguistic – Ability to use language to express one’s thoughts.

These individuals do well with words.


Logical-Mathematical – Ability to detect patterns, reason deductively, and think logically.

These individuals do well with numbers and abstract reasoning.


Visual-Spatial – Ability to create internal mental images and think in pictures.

These individuals do well with pictures, diagrams, and charts.


Bodily-Kinesthetic – Ability to use one’s body in a skilled way by coordinating bodily movements.

These individuals do well controlling their mind and body connection.


Musical-Rhythmic – Ability to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms.

These individuals do well hearing and recognizing musical patterns.


Interpersonal – Ability to understand and interact with other people.

These individuals do well with social experiences.


Intrapersonal – Ability to understand oneself and one’s emotions.

These individuals do well with self-reflection and self-awareness.


Naturalistic – Ability to understand nature and living things.

These individuals do well with nature and the natural world.


Existential – Ability to tackle deep questions about human existence.

These individuals do well with pondering the meaning of life.


Related Links

Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom

Multiple Intelligences

Theory of Multiple Intelligences


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