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10-14 The School of Hard Knocks: Multiple “intelligences”

The School of Hard Knocks: Multiple “intelligences”

As teenagers mature, standardized education hammers in an assumption that only one form of intelligence exists. In addition to well-known and generalized measures like IQ, experts have often aimed to simplify how our minds factor into a single science. Although there is lacking support for the theory of multiple intelligences, research has highlighted how different types of knowledgeable traits, abilities and skills are interrelated and contribute to a person’s level of success in life.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences

Howard Gardner, Ph.D., of Harvard University established a theory of multiple intelligences in his 1983 publication, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” He proposed that there was not a single, consolidated type of intellectual ability, but several. Over the years of his research, he identified the following alternative intelligences:

  • Musical–rhythmic
  • Visual–spatial
  • Verbal–linguistic
  • Logical–mathematical
  • Bodily–kinesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalistic
  • Existential and moral

Although this framework was inherently optimistic, implying that people can have areas of expertise that are unique to them, there has been a significant scarcity of evidence that backs-up these claims. In fact, a 2006 paper entitled, “Inadequate Evidence for Multiple Intelligences, Mozart Effect, and Emotional Intelligence Theories,” by Lynn Waterhouse from the College of New Jersey compiled all related studies that involved Gardner’s theory and concluded that the concept of multiple intelligences lacks measurable variables, undisputed definitions, predictive validity, an observed relationship to neural activity and a number of other areas to be considered a well-supported theory.

What is supported?

According to Scott A. McGreal, MSc., “This does not mean that non-cognitive abilities apart from general intelligence are unimportant. There is abundant evidence that personal qualities, such as motivation and social skills, matter a great deal to one’s success in life, and I don’t think anyone is really saying otherwise.”

In addition, Gardner and his model’s other point of contention and controversy asserts that his classified forms of intelligence were distinct and separate from each other. Although available research does not support this proposal, studies have also shown that multiple mental skills and abilities are activated in various tests of intelligence.

In “The Validity of a New, Self-report Measure of Multiple Intelligence,” researcher Adrian Furnham, Ph.D., of University College London oversaw 187 participants as they completed tests of multiple intelligences, learning styles and the Big Five personality traits. Interestingly, five of the eight areas of knowledge were correlated both with positive personality traits like extraversion and openness. In other words, the results showcased support that these various psychological abilities are not isolated, but linked with other proactive variables within an individual.

There are various interrelated areas of expertise that a growing individual can build up throughout his or her adolescence to boost performance as an adult. If you or your teen needs help handling a mental disturbance or lack of psychological growth, contact Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego over the phone or visit us online to learn about accessible and customizable treatment options for teenagers.

The School of Hard Knocks: Career-based networking

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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