Gardner's Eight Intelligences theory
might be difficult to prove objectively but it reflects the real world. We have all heard this:
"He's book smart, not people smart."
And most of us have seen something like this:
The guy who is very good with his hands but scraped through highschool. The Sociology majors who can't pass their one Statistics course.
Many of us have gone way beyond our parents in formal schooling, but our Moms and Dads are still so much smarter than us in certain ways. Gardner's Eight Intelligences listed below, help explain different strengths in people. It also gives equal respect to the different kinds of intelligence.
Logical/Mathmatical - Sensitivity to and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns; ability to handle long chains of reasoning.
Linguistic - Sensitivity to the sounds, rhythms and meanings of words, sensitivity to the different functions of language.
Musical - Abilities to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timbre and forms of musical expressiveness.
Spatial - Capacities to perceive the visual/spatialworld accurately and perform transformations of initial perceptions.
Kinesthetic - Ability to control one's body movements and handle objects skillfully.
Interpersonal - Capacity to discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperments, motivations and desires of others.
Intrapersonal - Access to one's own feelings and the ability do discriminate among them and draw upon them to guide behavior. Knowledge of one's own strengths, weaknesses, desires and intelligences.
Naturalist - Ability to categorize objects and processes in nature.
Most of us can easily pick out our top four and bottom four intelligences. School told me that I am strong logically with good math scores but life taught me that I am weak interpersonally - falling from one ridiculous situation into another because of the wrong people I chose to love and/or trust.
It seems that a intelligence is kind of like a heightened sense and we rely on the ones that we are strong at to make up for the weak. The same way that blind people report a heighted sense of hearing. Someone like me, for example, can (hopefully) use logic from trial and error to figure out better people to trust. In a modern state of Darwinism, it is interesting to see how many people use their strong intelligences to survive rather than their strong physical traits.
It also helps to think about the intelligence of the person that you are talking to. Some people simply are not intrapersonal. It is frustrating for them to introspect deeply, so why ask them to do it? Why not communicate to their intelligence instead?
It is silly to think that there can ever be an IQ test to measure people skills or the constellation of different physical skills. But, it seems that Gardner is onto something that unburdens people of of the limits that school may have taught them. Intelligence no longer needs to be such an exclusive club.