What Is The Gardner Multiple Intelligence Test And How Is It Used?

By Nicola Kirkpatrick

Updated December 20, 2018

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All of us want to know how intelligent we are. Whether for bragging rights, to get a good measure of our abilities, or find the areas we need to improve, we look for intelligence tests that can measure just how smart we are. There are thousands of tests scattered across the internet. Some are scientific, while others are just for fun. One such test you can take is the Gardner Multiple Intelligence Test.

What is the Gardner Multiple Intelligence Test?

Howard Gardner, a psychologist, first developed the theory of multiple intelligence in 1983, when it first appeared in his book Frames of Mind.

The theory says that intelligence isn't one single unit of measurement, but instead multiple. For many, this makes sense. There aren't too many people who are masters of all subjects. Some may be math wizards but were never good with the arts. Just because you're not good at one subject, it doesn't mean you're not intelligent.

Gardner proposed that everyone has eight types of intelligence, and even considers there to be more intelligences out there.

Gardner's Intelligences

It should be noted that Gardner believes that just because you excel in one intelligence, it doesn't mean that you should focus on that intelligence alone. You should strive to improve your other intelligences, but also focus on what makes you perform your best.

Gardner's definition of intelligence is a bit different. He believes that intelligence is the ability to process information, which you can use to create art or solve problems the world has. For instance, one who excels in science can make discoveries, while someone who is good with the arts can create a product everyone can enjoy.

Here are his intelligences.

Musical

As you probably guessed, someone high in musical-harmonic intelligence can compose music excellently. This covers all forms of musical theory. A person high in musical intelligence may be able to sing, play instruments, read music, listen to all the notes in a song, or more. You probably know someone who excelled in band, and that person probably has a high musical intelligence. Even if you just listen to music and can pick it apart, you may be good in this department as well.

Visual-spatial

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This intelligence deals with your ability to paint a picture in your mind. Those who are bestselling fiction authors may have great spatial judgment since they can paint a picture in their mind and translate it to paper very well. Also, inventors can see their invention in their mind's eye, and this helps them to develop it further.

Verbal-linguistic

Those who have high verbal intelligence are great with words. Any writer will usually be high in verbal-linguistic intelligence. They know which words to use at the right time, and they can also memorize words too. Ever had a friend who never forgets what you've said? They may be good in the verbal-linguistic category. Pick your words wisely.

Logical-mathematical

This intelligence has more to do than just being good at math. Those who have high critical thinking skills, are familiar with logic, and are reasonable have a high logical-mathematical intelligence. Ever met someone who is good at debating and able to stay logical under some intense emotions? They may be good in this category. In many ways, logic is quite like math. You'll need certain types of logic to solve different types of problems. It may not be long division, but in the end, life is all numbers.

Bodily-kinesthetic

Those who have high levels of bodily intelligence are good at anything physical. The sports superstar would probably break the scale if they took Gardner's test. However, you don't have to be great at sports. If you're good at handling objects, great at dancing, or even good at acting, you have a high bodily intelligence.

In fact, this intelligence overlaps many other forms of intelligence. An artist who makes art with their hands has a bodily intelligence that's high. People high in musical intelligence may have a high bodily intelligence if they have to play an instrument. From the bodybuilder to the police officer, these people know how to use their body well.

Interpersonal

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These are the extroverts, the people who can work well in a group. They can read the moods and feelings of others, and they are the people persons we all know. However, you don't have to be extroverted to have a high interpersonal intelligence. If you're just good at discussing, and can learn to like people, you may be good at interpersonal intelligence. Public figures usually have a high rating when it comes to this particular intelligence. Teachers, salespeople, counselors, social workers, and anyone else who has to deal with people are also contenders.

Intrapersonal

If inter means other people, intra means yourself. Those who have high levels of intrapersonal intelligence are mindful and have high self-awareness. They can recognize their weaknesses, know how they're going to react to a situation, and reflect on their actions. Being self-aware is a lost art to some people, but if you are intrapersonal, you can be self-correcting, and this can help you excel in life. Mindfulness can also help you to live in the present and forget about all the past mistakes you have made, which can help you succeed.

Naturalistic

The first seven are Gardner's original intelligence, while the naturalist intelligence was proposed later on. Those who have high naturalist intelligence are good in any situation involving nature. The hunter knows where to find their prey, is aware of the environment at all times, and excels at killing their target. The botanist can tell apart all the different plants and know how to classify all of them. The farmer knows how to have a good harvest in the middle of changing conditions. Even someone such as a chef may be good in naturalist intelligence. If you're an environmentalist who is sensitive to how humans are changing the world around them, you may have high naturalist intelligence.

Gardner's Other Intelligences

Gardner is still alive, and to this day, he is still working on his theory. He is still considering adding new intelligences to his theory, but none are not implemented just yet. He has considered an existential intelligence, where someone thrives on questioning the role humanity has. Ever had someone wonder why humans are here, or where they go when they die? They may have a high existential intelligence. He has also looked into teaching intelligence. This is where someone has a good ability to teach to other people, and not only that but the way they teach sticks with their pupils.

Taking the Gardner Multiple Intelligence Test

You probably want to know where you stack against all these intellgences. Odds are, you know your skills, but sometimes, you may be surprised at some of them. For example, you may be closer to nature than you thought.

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If you look up the Gardner test, you can find various tests you can take. One of them you'll find is a quick one. The test at Edutopia is 24 questions, making it fast and easy, but maybe not as accurate. You can find some tests that have double the questions. They may take more time to complete, but you can find more accuracy. Most of these tests are free to do.

Your results will be displayed, usually in percentages. You may be good in multiple areas, have none of one area, or be well-rounded in all categories. It all depends. Also, you may find yourself realizing that your intelligences may be fluid. For example, you may be interested in the arts during one period of your life, and you may be interested in gardening in another. Just because you see your results do not mean they are set in stone, and it will all depend.

Is It Reliable?

Gardner's theory of multiple intelligence is indeed interesting, but in the scientific community, many of its themes have not been verified, or the science is still out. Many scientists argue that the results can be unreliable, or that someone's skill set does not necessarily reflect their intelligence. As such, you should use Gardner's intelligence test as the only way of measuring your intelligence, but instead one out of many.

Figuring out the measure of one's intelligence is difficult. Gardner's test can give you a good idea of what you excel in, or what you should improve on.

Overall, Gardner's theory is worth looking into. Despite many of its claims not being verifiable, the idea that everyone has at least one thing they're good in is true for the most part. Think about your peers. They all have at least one intelligence they are good in. Your bumbling friend may be a good speaker. Your quiet friend may be good in the arts. And know that these theories can change with time. If you're interested, it's worth it to take the intelligence test today and see how you stack up in the end.


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