Multiple Intelligences: What Does the Research Say?

What Does the Research Say about Multiple Intelligences? 2023 | Future Education Magazine


The notion of multiple intelligences, proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983, has transformed our understanding of intelligence. Explore the research that supports his idea.

Many instructors have had the experience of being unable to reach some pupils unless they were presented with the knowledge in a totally different manner or given fresh possibilities for expression. Perhaps it was a kid who struggled with writing until the instructor offered the opportunity to make a visual tale, which resulted in a narrative that was both beautiful and intricate. Or maybe it was a kid who struggled to comprehend fractions until he generated them by slicing oranges.

Due to these types of experiences, many educators find the notion of multiple intelligences persuasive. A one-size-fits-all approach to education will inevitably leave some children behind, as we all know. Nevertheless, the idea is often misinterpreted, which may result in its being utilized interchangeably with learning styles or in ways that restrict student potential. In addition to understanding the data that supports the theory of multiple intelligences, which is a powerful method to think about learning, it is essential to comprehend the idea of multiple intelligences.

Howard Gardner’s Eight Intelligences

The hypothesis of many intelligences contradicts the concept of a single IQ, according to which humans have one central “computer” containing intelligence. The original proponent of the idea, a Harvard professor named Howard Gardner, asserts that there are several varieties of human intellect, each reflecting a distinct manner of processing information.

What Does the Research Say about Multiple Intelligences? 2023 | Future Education Magazine
  1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence refers to a person’s capacity to evaluate and create oral and written language-based work, such as speeches, novels, and emails.
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence is the capacity to construct equations and proofs, do computations, and solve abstract issues.
  3. Visual-spatial intelligence enables individuals to grasp maps and other graphical data.
  4. Musical intelligence helps humans to create and interpret a variety of sounds.
  5. Naturalistic intelligence is the capacity to recognize and differentiate between many sorts of plants, animals, and weather patterns present in the natural world.
  6. Using one’s own body to create or solve issues is the essence of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
  7. Interpersonal intelligence is the capacity to perceive and comprehend the emotions, desires, motives, and goals of others.
  8. Intrapersonal intelligence refers to a person’s capacity to notice and evaluate their own features.

Differentiating Multiple Intelligences from Learning Styles

A widespread misunderstanding concerning multiple intelligences is that it is synonymous with learning styles. Instead, diverse intelligences implies distinct intellectual talents. According to Howard Gardner, learning styles are how a person handles a variety of activities. They have been classified in a variety of ways, including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, impulsive and contemplative, right and left brain, etc.

Gardner believes that the concept of learning styles lacks clear criteria for how one would identify a learning style, where the style originates, and how the style can be identified and evaluated. He defines learning styles as “a theory about how a person examines a variety of topics.”

What Does the Research Say about Multiple Intelligences? 2023 | Future Education Magazine

Everyone has all eight intelligences described above to varied degrees, and maybe many more that have yet to be identified, and not all learning experiences need to pertain to a person’s greatest intelligence. For instance, proficiency in learning new languages does not always indicate a preference for learning via lectures.

A person with a high visual-spatial IQ, such as an accomplished painter, may nevertheless benefit from utilizing rhymes to retain information. It is essential to avoid categorizing pupils as a single kind of learner, since learning is fluid and multifaceted. According to Gardner, “when one has a comprehensive grasp of a subject, one can generally consider it in several angles.”

What the Theory of Multiple Intelligences Can Teach Us

While further study is still required to discover the most effective methods for testing and promoting a variety of intelligences in schools, this idea has opened the door to a broader understanding of intellect. As an educator, it is beneficial to consider the many ways knowledge might be delivered. However, it is crucial not to categorize children as certain kinds of learners or as having a fixed or intrinsic intellect.

Practices Supported by Research

What Does the Research Say about Multiple Intelligences? 2023 | Future Education Magazine

To increase the accessibility of learning experiences for all students, it is beneficial to have an awareness of diverse teaching styles from which we can all learn, as well as a toolbox containing many ways to offer material to students. To construct this toolkit, it is crucial to collect continual information regarding student strengths and obstacles, as well as their evolving interests and disliked activities. Research supports providing kids with multiple settings and engaging a range of their senses, such as learning fractions via musical notes, flower petals, and poetry meter. Specifically:

Offering pupils various access points to knowledge enhances learning.

Providing students with different opportunities to display knowledge and abilities enhances engagement and learning, and gives instructors a more precise grasp of students’ knowledge and skills.

As far as feasible, instruction should be influenced by particular information about students’ strengths, needs, and opportunities for development.

As our insatiable curiosity in the learning process endures and studies continue to improve, scientific study may arise that elaborates more on multiple intelligences, learning styles, or another idea. Visit our Brain-Based Learning website for additional information about scientific studies on student learning.

Bottom line

Multiple intelligence is an interesting concept to increase productivity and different skills. Deep research has been conducted at the university level and it has proven to be effective to implement. They can encourage students to get at ease with multi-tasking and save time. In the above information, we have explained what Howard Gardner has researched in his Eight Intelligences theory.

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