8 Multiple Intelligence:A Parent’s Guide To MI Theory - Brainchecker

8 Multiple Intelligence:A Parent’s Guide To MI Theory

Though the human brain is incredibly complex, until recent years, the popular perception of intelligence was strikingly simple—and antiquated. Indeed, both standard IQ tests and SAT tests are still based largely on the work of Alfred Binet, a French psychologist who developed the first “intelligence test” in the year 1900.

Though Binet’s work was useful during its time, modern researchers like Howard Gardner (author of Frames of Mind) feel that it’s inadequate to measure the sheer diversity of human capabilities. While modern IQ and SAT tests assess only two types of intelligence, verbal and mathematical (visual-perceptual), Gardner believes that there are actually seven distinct areas of aptitude. His theory is referred to as the Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory.

MI theory also states that while each of us has a “dominant” intelligence, we contain all seven intelligences to varying degrees. MI theory leaves room for growth, too, suggesting that we can elect to improve our ability in any of the seven areas at any time. Furthermore, Gardner has stated that he sees all of the following seven intelligences as being inherently equal.

  1. Bodily-kinesthetic: People with this form of “physical intelligence” use their bodies to convey ideas and feelings. Actors, athletes, and dancers are all excellent examples of people with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

How to detect bodily-kinesthetic intelligence in your child: Does your child love physical activity and have a hard time sitting still? Does he or she love tactile pursuits and learn best by touching and handling things? Does your child “talk with her hands” and/or enjoy hobbies like finger-painting and model-building? Does she spend most of her free time outdoors and seem unusually coordinated for her age?

  1. Interpersonal: People with strong interpersonal (or emotional) intelligenceare excellent at interpreting the needs and feelings of others. They typically make excellent teachers, therapists, charity workers, and salespeople.

How to detect interpersonal intelligence in your child: Does your child love to socialize with others? Does he or she empathize easily with the emotions of friends and appear to give them advice regularly? Does your child enjoy mentoring others or joining organizations? Does he or she seem like the “leader” in social situations or someone other children naturally gravitate towards?

  1. Intrapersonal: People with well-developed intrapersonal intelligence are highly introspective and use their self-knowledge to generate broad wisdom. They make skilled scholars and philosophers.

How to detect intrapersonal intelligence in your child: Does your child seem highly independent by nature? Does he appear to be “wise beyond his years,” with an unusually keen sense of his strengths and weaknesses? Does he work better alone? Does he cultivate unique ideas that do not reflect the trends embraced by his friends? Is he adept at expressing his thoughts and feelings?

  1. Linguistic: People with linguistic intelligence are gifted at using words effectively (either spoken or written). Writers, politicians, comedians, and public speakers all have linguistic intelligence.

How to determine if your child has linguistic intelligence: Does your child write very well for his or her age? Does she enjoy telling stories and have an easy time memorizing them (as well as names, places, and dates)? Is she a real “bookworm”? Does she have a love for word games and demonstrate a very well-developed vocabulary? Does she have a knack for putting her thoughts into words?

  1. Logical-Mathematical: People with logical-mathematical intelligence both work very well with numbers and have advanced reasoning skills. They make excellent mathematicians, accountants, scientists, and IT professionals.

How to detect logical-mathematical intelligence in your child: Does your child seem very interested in figuring out how things work? Does he or she enjoy math or science? Does she like number games, computer games, brain teasers, puzzles, and strategy games? Does your child seek out opportunities to do independent research, e.g., she often asks to go to museums?

  1. Musical: People with musical intelligence have an innate ability to work with sound, understanding its nuances and using it to express feelings and ideas. Those with musical intelligence may work as musicians, music critics, composers, or performers.

How to detect musical intelligence in your child: While most children love music, if your child easily picks up songs “by ear,” can recognize off-key music, and seems to have a natural gift for singing or playing an instrument, it’s likely that he has musical intelligence. Furthermore, he will probably have a strong emotional response to music and demonstrate a general sensitivity to noise.

  1. Spatial: People with strong spatial intelligence excel at working with visual-spatial information. They can, for example, often manipulate three-dimensional objects in their minds and vividly recall images they have seen. People with this form of intelligence can be found in a wide variety of fields that appear to have little in common at first glance. They may work as hunters, engineers, sailors, inventors, architects, or artists, among other careers.

How to detect spatial intelligence in your child: Does your child have an excellent visual memory? Does he or she have a knack for reading maps and understanding charts? Do his teachers report that he “daydreams” a lot in class? Does he enjoy the visual arts, even to the point of doodling obsessively on available surfaces? Does he seem to learn better with visual aids?

In addition to the seven types above, some experts have posited that an eighth type of intelligence also exists:

  1. Naturalist Intelligence: People with naturalist intelligence are inherently in tune with the natural world. They have an innate understanding of natural phenomena and/or animal or plant behaviour. They may find work as botanists, ecologists, biologists, or veterinarians.

How to detect naturalist intelligence in your child: Does your child love having pets and/or being out in nature? Does she love the zoo, nature reserves, the beach, or natural history museums? Does she express a desire to help preserve the natural environment?

Nurturing Your Child’s Unique Intelligence

Unless your child has a linguistic or mathematical intelligence, it’s probable that his or her learning style will not be fully appreciated or nurtured at school. You should therefore speak to your child’s educators about finding ways (either in the classroom or in the form of extracurricular activities) to encourage your child to exercise his or her unique strengths. You can also make the home environment an enriched learning environment by researching more about your child’s intelligence and how to develop it fully.


Contact Certified Brain Checker Today & Know your child’s intelligence.

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About the Author: Keya Raje

Senior Counselor ,M.A. Psychology.


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