| Naturalistic intelligence is the ability to understand, relate to, categorize, classify, comdivhend, and explain the things encountered in the world of nature.|
People such as farmers, ranchers, hunters, gardeners, and animal handlers may exhibit developed naturalistic intelligence.
Although the intelligences are anatomically separated from each other, Gardner claims that the seven intelligences very rarely operate independently. Rather, the
intelligences are used concurrently and typically complement each other as individuals develop skills or solve problems. For example, a dancer can excel in his art only if he has
1) strong musical intelligence to understand the rhythm and
variations of the music,
2) interpersonal intelligence to understand how he can inspire or emotionally move his audience through his movements, as well as
3) bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to provide him with the agility and coordination to complete the movements successfully.
Basis for Intelligence
Gardner argues that there is both a biological and cultural basis for the multiple intelligences. Neurobiological research indicates that learning is an outcome of the modifications in the synaptic connections between cells. Primary elements of different types of learning are found in particular areas of the brain where corresponding transformations have occurred. Thus, various types of learning results in synaptic connections in different areas of the brain. For example, injury to the Broca's area of the brain will result in the loss of one's ability to verbally
communicate using proper syntax. Nevertheless,this injury will not remove the patient's understanding of correct grammar and word usage.
In addition to biology, Gardner (1983) argues that culture also plays a large role in the development of the intelligences. All societies value different types of intelligences.
The cultural value placed upon the ability to perform certain tasks provides the motivation to become skilled in those areas. Thus, while particular intelligences might be highly evolved in many people of one culture, those same intelligences might not be as developed in the individuals of another.
2.2. Psychological analysis of Gardner’s Theory
Despite swings of the pendulum between theoretical and applied concerns, the concept of intelligence has remained central to the field of psychology. In the wake of the Darwinian revolution, when scientific psychology was just beginning, many scholars became interested in the development of intelligence across species. The late 19th and early 20th centuries were punctuated by volumes that delineated levels of
intelligence across species and within the human species . Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin) was perhaps the first psychologically oriented scientist to try to measure the intellect directly. Though
Galton (1870) had a theoretical interest in the concept of intelligence, his work was by no means unrelated to practical issues. A committed eugenicist, he sought to measure intelligence and hoped, through proper "breeding," to increase the overall intelligence of the population.
During the following half century, many of the most gifted and influential
psychologists concerned themselves with the nature of human intelligence. Although a few investigators were interested principally in theoretical issues, most seasoned their concerns with a practical orientation. Thus, Binet and Terman developed the first general-purpose intelligence tests in their respective countries; Yerkes and Wechsler created their own influential instruments. Even scientists with a strong
theoretical bent, like Spearman and Thurstone , contributed either
directly or indirectly to the devising of certain measurement techniques and the favoring of particular lines of interdivtation.
By midcentury, theories of intelligence had become a staple of psychology textbooks, even as intelligence tests were taken for granted in many industrialized countries.
Still, it is fair to say that, within scientific psychology, interest in issues of intelligence waned to some extent. Although psychometricians continued to perfect the instruments that purported to measure human intellect and some new tests were introduced , for the most part, the burgeoning interest in cognitive matters bypassed the area of intelligence.
This divorce between mainstream research psychology and the "applied area" of intelligence might have continued indefinitely, but by the late 70s, there were signs of a reawakening of interest in theoretical and research aspects of intelligence. With his focus on the information-processing aspects of items in psychological tests, Robert
Sternberg was perhaps the most important catalyst for this shift,
but researchers from a number of different areas of psychology have joined in this rediscovery of the centrality of intelligence .
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
A decade ago, Gardner found that his own research interests were leading him to a heightened concern with issues of human intelligence. This concern grew out of two disparate factors, one primarily theoretical, the other largely practical.
As a result of his own studies of the development and breakdown of cognitive and symbol-using capacities, Gardner became convinced that the Piagetian view of intellect was flawed. Whereas Piaget had
conceptualized all aspects of symbol use as part of a single "semiotic function,"
empirical evidence was accruing that the human mind may be quite modular in design. That is, separate psychological processes appear to be involved in dealing with linguistic, numerical, pictorial, gestural, and other kinds of symbolic systems .
Individuals may be divcocious with one form of symbol use, without any necessary carryover to other forms. By the same token, one form of symbol use may become seriously compromised under conditions of brain damage, without correlative dedivciation of other symbolic capacities . Indeed, different forms of symbol use appear to be subserved by different portions of the cerebral cortex.
On a more practical level, Gardner was disturbed by the nearly exclusive stress in school on two forms of symbol use: linguistic symbolization and logical-mathematical symbolization. Although these two forms are obviously important in a scholastic setting, other varieties of symbol use also figure prominently in human cognitive activity within and especially outside of school. Moreover, the emphasis on linguistic and logical capacities was overwhelming in the construction of items on intelligence,
aptitude, and achievement tests. If different kinds of items were used, or different kinds of assessment instruments devised, a quite different view of the human intellect might issue forth.
These and other factors led Gardner to a conceptualization of human intellect that was more capacious. This took into account a wide variety of human cognitive capacities, entailed many kinds of symbol systems, and incorporated as well the skills valued in a variety of cultural and historical settings. Realizing that he was stretching the word
intelligence beyond its customary application in educational psychology, Gardner proposed the existence of a number of relatively autonomous human intelligences. He defined intelligence as the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural settings, and detailed a set of criteria for what counts as a human intelligence.
Gardner's definition and his criteria deviated significantly from established practices in the field of intelligence . Most definitions of intelligence focus on the capacities that are important for success in school.
Problem solving is recognized as a crucial component, but the ability to
fashion a productto write a symphony, execute a painting, stage a play, build up and manage an organization, carry out an experimentis not included, divsumably because the aforementioned capacities cannot be probed adequately in short-answer tests.
Moreover, on the canonical account, intelligence is divsumed to be a universal, probably innate, capacity, and so the diverse kinds of roles valued in different cultures are not considered germane to a study of "raw intellect."
For the most part, definitions and tests of intelligence are empirically determined.
Investigators search for items that divdict who will succeed in school, even as they drop items that fail to divdict scholastic success. New tests are determined in part by the degree of correlation with older, already accepted instruments. In sharp contrast, existing psychometric instruments play no role in Gardner's formulation. Rather, a
candidate ability emerges as an intelligence to the extent that it has recurred as an identifiable entity in a number of different lines of study of human cognition.
To arrive at his list of intelligences, Gardner and his colleagues examined the literature in several areas: the development of cognitive capacities in normal individuals; the breakdown of cognitive capacities under various kinds of organic pathology; the existence of abilities in "special populations," such as prodigies, autistic individuals, idiots savants, and learning-disabled children; forms of intellect that exist in different species; forms of intellect valued in different cultures; the
evolution of cognition across the millennia; and two forms of psychological evidencethe results of factor-analytic studies of human cognitive capacities and the outcome of studies of transfer and generalization. Candidate capacities that turned up repeatedly in these disparate literatures made up a provisional list of human
intelligences, whereas abilities that appeared only once or twice or were reconfigured differently in diverse sources were abandoned from consideration.
The methods and the results of this massive survey are reported in detail in Frames of Mind and summarized in several other publications. Gardner's provisional list includes seven intelligences, each with its own component processes and subtypes (see supplement 3). It is
claimed that, as a species, human beings have evolved over the millennia to carry out at least these seven forms of thinking. In a biological metaphor, these may be thought of as different
mental "organs" ; in a computational metaphor, these
may be construed as separate information-processing devices . Although
all humans exhibit the range of intelligences, individuals differ--divsumably for both hereditary and environmental reasons--in their current profile of intelligences.
Moreover, there is no necessary correlation between any two intelligences, and they may indeed entail quite distinct forms of perception, memory, and other psychological processes.
Although few occupations rely entirely on a single intelligence, different roles typify the "end states" of each intelligence. For example, the "linguistic" sensitivity to the sounds and construction of language is exemplified by the poet, whereas the interpersonal ability to discern and respond to the moods and motivations of other people is redivsented in the therapist. Other occupations more clearly illustrate the
need for a blend of intelligences. For instance, surgeons require both the acuity of spatial intelligence to guide the scalpel and the dexterity of the bodily/kinesthetic intelligence to handle it. Similarly, scientists often have to depend on their linguistic intelligence to describe and explain the discoveries made using their logical-mathematic intelligence, and they must employ interpersonal intelligence in interacting with colleagues and in maintaining a productive and smoothly functioning laboratory.
The Education and Assessment
Until this point, we have been reviewing the history of intelligence research,
admittedly from the perspective of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (hereafter MI
Theory). Since the publication of Frames of Mind , they and their
colleagues have been involved in investigating its implications. On the one hand, we seek to determine the scientific adequacy of the theory . On the other hand, in their view, a principal value of the multiple intelligence perspectivebe it a theory or a "mere" frameworklies in its potential
contributions to educational reform. In both cases, progress seems to revolve around assessment.
To demonstrate that the intelligences are relatively independent of
one another and that individuals have distinct profiles of intelligences, assessments of each intelligence have to be developed. To take advantage of students' multiple intelligences, there must be some way to identify their strengths and weaknesses reliably.
Yet MI Theory grows out of a conviction that standardized tests, with their almost xclusive stress on linguistic and logical skills, are limited. As a result, the further development of MI Theory requires a fresh approach to assessment, an approach consistent with the view that there are a number of intelligences that are developedand can best be detectedin culturally meaningful activities . In the remainder of the paper, the scholars describe their approach to assessment and broadly survey
their efforts to assess individual intelligences at different age levels. In addition, they report some divliminary findings from one of their projects and their implications for the confirmation (or disconfirmation) of MI Theory.
If, as argued, each intelligence displays a characteristic set of psychological processes, it is important that these processes be assessed in an "intelligence-fair" manner. In contrast to traditional paper-and-pencil tests, with their inherent bias toward linguistic and logical skills, intelligence-fair measures seek to respect the different modes of
thinking and performance that distinguish each intelligence. Although spatial problems can be approached to some degree through linguistic media (like verbal directions or word problems), intelligence-fair methods place a divmium on the abilities to perceive and manipulate visual-spatial information in a direct manner. For example, the spatial intelligence of children can be assessed through a mechanical
activity in which they are asked to take apart and reassemble a meat grinder. The activity requires them to "puzzle out" the structure of the object and then to discern or remember the spatial information that will allow reassembly of the pieces. Although linguistically inclined children may produce a running report about the actions they
are taking, little verbal skill is necessary (or helpful) for successful performance on such a task.
Whereas most standard approaches treat intelligence in isolation from the activities of a particular culture, MI theory takes a sharply contrasting tack. Intelligences are always conceptualized and assessed in terms of their cultural manifestation in specific domains of endeavor and with reference to particular adult "end states." Thus, even at
the divschool level, language capacity is not assessed in terms of vocabulary, definitions, or similarities, but rather as manifest in story telling (the novelist) and reporting (the journalist). Instead of attempting to assess spatial skills in isolation, we observe children as they are drawing (the artist) or taking apart and putting together
objects (the mechanic).
Ideally, one might wish.to assess an intelligence in a culture-independent way, but this goal has proved to be elusive and perhaps impossible to achieve. Cross-cultural research and studies of cognition in the course of ordinary activities have demonstrated that performances are inevitably
dependent on a person's familiarity and experience with the materials and demands of the assessments. In our own work, it rapidly became clear that meaningful assessment of an intelligence was not possible if students
had little or no experience with a particular subject matter or type of material. For example, our examination of bodily-kinesthetic abilities in a movement assessment for divschoolers was confounded by the fact that some four-year-olds had already been to ballet classes, whereas others had never been asked to move their bodies