There is no conclusive agreement about what the concept of intelligence really is. Some concepts of intelligence focused upon achievement, i.e., how much a person really knows relative to others in an age group, or aptitude orientated, i.e., the person’s ability to learn[i]. Traditionally intelligence has been considered as a general trait “g” where people would differ in the level they possess. However as separate abilities (e.g. verbal, memory, perceptual, and arithmetic) were recognized as intelligence, the concept of intelligence widened[ii]. Howard Gardner took an interest in Norman Geschwind’s research concerning what happens to normal or gifted individuals after the misfortune of a stroke or some other form of brain damage. Gardner was amazed at how a patient, counter to logic would lose the ability to read words, but could still read numbers, name objects, and write normally [iii]. This suggested that different aspects of intelligence originate from different parts of the brain. Gardner synthesized his knowledge of the study of brain damage with his study of cognitive development and believed that peoples’ endeavors were not based upon any single type of intelligence, but rather a mix of different intelligences. Intelligence needs to be applied in various ways for survival in different environments and thus the abilities of a banker, medical doctor, and Eskimo looking for fish are situational specific, all requiring high levels of competence. Western society heavily values verbal, mathematical, and spatial competencies while other competencies may be more important in other cultures. Intellectual competence must therefore entail the possession of a set of skills that can enable someone to solve problems, resolve difficulties they may find in day to day living, have the potential to find problems, and have the ability to acquire new knowledge from their personal experiences[iv]. Every form of intelligence can be seen as a specific paradigm having its own symbols and logic that will define, enable evaluation, and solve problems. Gardner hypothesized the multiple intelligence theory in recognition that broad mental abilities are needed in society and that every person has a unique blend of different intelligences[v]. Gardner initially listed seven types of intelligence, body-kinesthetic, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligence. Gardner also affirmed that our separate types of intelligences may not just be limited to the seven above and that others may also exist. Brilliance and achievement most often depend upon the individual finding the right vocation in life that suits their intelligence mix.
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