What is Multiple Intelligence Theory?

Multiple Intelligence Theory (MIT) was first introduced in 1983, when Dr. Howard Gardner published his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  He argued that traditional “intelligence” assessments (namely IQ) only acknowledged linguistic & logical/mathematic intelligences, which were too narrow and did not quite capture our intellectual diversity.  Gardner presented a framework that can actually help people identify their own skills and talents.

Multiple Intelligence Theory (MIT) argues that we have many types of intelligences, rather than one variable such as an IQ test score.  MIT consists of 8 distinct intelligences, while the IQ test only tests on verbal & logical criteria.  With MIT, every person has a unique profile based on the different intelligences. 

The Eight Intelligences are:

  • Bodily / Kinesthetic
  • Linguistic / Verbal
  • Logical / Mathematic
  • Intrapersonal
  • Interpersonal
  • Musical
  • Naturalist
  • Spatial

The best part of MIT is that it can really help people understand themselves, especially in regards to career planning & development.   Each separate intelligence sheds light on our capabilities and tendencies.  When you put everything together, you are encouraged to focus on what you can accomplish.  In contrast, an IQ score tells you if you are smart or not smart – that’s it. 

Finally, MIT recognizes diversity in it’s simplest form – our intellect.  Life is complex and so are we.  MIT embraces the many ways we demonstrate our intellictual abilities.  We can’t all be doctors, but we can put our energy towards what we are good at or what we are passionate about in our lives and professional careers.

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