Human intelligence has shocked and awed mankind since the first words were carved into stone in the caves of much simpler men and woman. The human mind has transcended far beyond our previous predecessors with great advances in medicine, space travel, technology, the list could go on and on. But what exactly defines intelligence? What makes one person “smart” and another “dumb”? The answer has stricken controversies for years, with brilliant men such as Robert Sternberg and Howard Gardner, giving theories of their own on just what makes man “intelligent”.
Though we have no shortage of iq, aptitude and personality tests,
many would argue that iq tests only calculate the mathematical and logical sides to intelligence, and do not take into account the many other aspects of mans intelligence such as the ability to compose a symphony or write poetry. With that being said how then exactly do we define the difference between a genius physicist and a master mechanic, a painter and a dancer? One of the leading theories in this account is Howard Gardners theory of “Multiple Intelligences”. He explains his theory that intelligence shouldn’t be considered one general ability but the sum of seven different components of intelligence which make up the human mind.
These seven categories are:
Gardner believed he could define all aspects of human intelligence through his theory. He even claimed to be able to determine which intelligences we possessed and which we didn’t through simple quiz like questions similar to that of the standardized iq test. Another influential thinker on the subject of intelligence, who’s many influential theories were in strong support of Gardners theory of “multiple intelligences” was David Perkins.
Though many of Perkins and Gardners theories were in support of each other. Perkins argued that iq was comprised of 3 major components as opposed to Gardners seven.
Neutral intelligence: involves determining the genetic abilities of a persons neurological system. Perkins would say this was the “original equipment” we were all born with.
Experiential intelligence: would be knowledge acquired through experience. The more we experience the more we learn.
And lastly reflective intelligence: refers to a persons own ability to use and manipulate their mental skill. These are thinking strategies we use to utilize our neutral and experiential intelligences such as self monitoring and self management.
The culmination of all three concepts will lead you to his main theory of “learnable intelligence”. That a knowledgable, and capable mind is possible to all men and woman through effort and experience.
That “people can learn to think and act more intelligently”.
Through simple “habits of the mind”.
Some of course would argue that intelligence is inherited and determined at birth. It’s a classic case of nature vs nurture which has brought controversy to the world of cognitive psychology for years.
But even with all these theories, it’s still difficult to grasp the gravity of mans greatest gift.
Personally I’ve always believed that all man is capable in achieving anything they put their mind to. That intelligence isn’t something you’re necessarily born with,
but it something that is achieved over years of study and experience. For a long time people have thought that man kinds limit was determined at birth But I have always believed that the only limit we as a species have, is the limit we set on ourselves And although we may not be all be Einsteins or Da Vinci’s, true intelligence is wherever our passions point towards and our ambitions take us.
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Till next time
Howard Gardners multiple intelligences quiz: