The Gardner Multiple Intelligence Test: What It Is And How It’s Used
There are thousands of tests available on the internet that claim to measure various dimensions of the human psyche, including personality, cognition, and emotional intelligence. Psychologists and academic researchers may also use certain assessments to measure intelligence. These tests are generally more rigorously developed and validated compared to many online quizzes and are often used in clinical and academic settings.
One of the most commonly used intelligence tests is Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Test (MIT). To understand how this test works, it can be helpful to know the reasons it was developed and what it can be used for.
What is the Gardner intelligence test?
A Gardner Intelligence Test refers to an assessment based on Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner, a Harvard University psychologist, proposed this theory in 1983 with the publication of his book “Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century.”
Gardner posits that there are many types of intelligence, and that these intelligences are relatively independent faculties. Multiple intelligence theory suggests that having a high ability level in one area does not necessarily predict similar abilities in others. Some may see this theory as a common-sense approach to intelligence assessment, as intelligence is multifaceted and characterized by individual differences in abilities and talents across various domains.
For example, young people often notice that they find certain subjects in school relatively easy compared to other subjects, or that they find academics challenging but excel in other domains, such as sports or creative pursuits. Gardner suggests that struggling in certain areas doesn't mean you're unintelligent—it can indicate a unique learning style or aptitude for a different type of intelligence.
What are Gardner’s measures of intelligence?
Gardner proposed that there are eight types of intelligence that all humans possess, with some being stronger than others, depending on your unique profile. These measures include the following categories.
Someone with a high musical-harmonic intelligence type may find it easy to compose music, understand music theory, and play an instrument. A person with musical intelligence may be able to sing, play instruments, read music, identify the key, and keep perfect pitch. These individuals may go on to succeed in a career or education in music.
Visual-spatial intelligence refers to the ability to paint a visual picture in your mind. For example, bestselling fiction authors may have excellent spatial judgment, visualizing characters or settings in their minds and translating them to paper. In addition, inventors can see their invention in their mind's eye, often prompting them to create an idea or product that has never been publicly developed.
Those with high verbal intelligence may excel in areas related to spoken and written language. These individuals may gravitate towards careers as writers or journalists, lyricists, language teachers, or any other profession that heavily relies on the skillful use of language and communication. They know which words to use and can quickly memorize and organize words, grammar, and structure in their minds. These individuals may also enjoy word games, reading, storytelling or learning new languages.
Logical-mathematical intelligence involves more than excelling in math. This type of intelligence is often associated with high critical thinking and reasoning skills and is characteristic of those who excel in problem-solving, abstract thinking, and scientific analysis. These individuals may be able to see multiple sides to a problem, solve and develop equations, and follow the scientific method. They may enjoy strategy games, puzzles, and experiments and pursue careers in fields such as mathematics, engineering, computer science, and other scientific disciplines.
Those with high levels of bodily intelligence are considered naturally adept at physical activity. This trait extends beyond sports, however—high bodily intelligence can help you excel in dancing, acting, martial arts, and other disciplines that require bodily awareness and control.
This type of intelligence overlaps with many other forms of intelligence. For example, artists who make art with their hands may have high bodily and visual-spatial intelligence. People high in musical intelligence may have high bodily intelligence if they sing or play an instrument.
People with high interpersonal skills often understand and interact well with others. They can read the moods and feelings of other people and may have a good sense of how to effectively navigate social situations. However, you don't have to be extroverted to have high interpersonal intelligence.
You may have high interpersonal intelligence if you can make conversation easily, enjoy imparting your ideas, and try to see the best in others. Teachers, salespeople, counselors, social workers, and public figures may have a high rating in this category.
Those with high levels of intrapersonal intelligence are mindful and have high self-awareness. They can recognize their weaknesses, know how to react to a situation, and reflect on their actions. They tend to seek knowledge above all else for self-growth and may enjoy exploring philosophy, psychology, self-help, and spirituality.
Naturalistic intelligence refers to a person with an intuitive understanding of the natural world and its processes. Those who have high naturalist intelligence may succeed in any situation involving nature. For example, hunters may be more successful because they recognize how animals interact with their environments. A botanist may experience a special connection to plants and nature, giving them a talent for classifying and understanding plant life. The farmer's connection with the land provides them with knowledge of how to reap a harvest in the middle of changing conditions.
Other forms of intelligence
Gardner is still growing and developing his multiple intelligences theory, attempting to find new forms of intelligence and categorize human experience. He has considered “existential intelligence,” where someone thrives on questioning the role humanity has and the purpose of life. Gardner has also investigated “teaching–pedagogical intelligence,” which describes a person’s ability to teach others.
Criticisms of Gardner's theories
Gardner's theory of multiple intelligence can provide interesting insights. However, some of its suppositions have not been verified using the scientific method. Some scientists argue that the results can be unreliable or that someone's skill set does not necessarily reflect their intelligence.
Initially, the test aimed to broaden human understanding of the definition of intelligence and identify intelligence strengths in individuals. As time progressed, professionals began using the test to determine people's projected learning styles and tailor learning curricula to fit those styles.
While the idea is well-meaning, it can be limited within the context of children's learning and development. To quote Gardner himself, "Multiple intelligences should not, in and of itself, be an educational goal." Gardner also pointed out that people's levels of intelligence can change with time and exposure. For example, if you have a knack for verbal linguistics, you may still be able to cultivate logic-mathematical skills through continued practice.
Gardner's intelligence test was not designed to measure intelligence; however, it can provide insight into your strengths and aptitudes, which may be helpful in making decisions about possible educational or career paths.
Professional support in interpreting your results
Psychologically, the Gardner MIT can be helpful for people looking to make a life change. Perhaps they are unhappy with their job and are looking for a more fulfilling career, or maybe they're ready to enter the professional world but unsure where to begin. The test can offer suggestions of how people may excel professionally.
Consulting with a psychologist may be beneficial if you have questions about your results. In addition to addressing mental health challenges, some people seek therapy to understand life goals, personality, and relationships. However, others may avoid traditional therapy due to inconvenience or financial difficulties. Online counseling through platforms like BetterHelp has revolutionized mental healthcare by eliminating some of these barriers to treatment.
Online therapy provides a way for people to receive the same quality of treatment available in a traditional setting at home, often at more affordable rates than in-person therapy without insurance. Through online therapy, you can connect with licensed, accredited mental health professionals on your own time via phone, video, or live chat sessions.
What is Gardner's multiple intelligences test?
Gardner’s multiple intelligence test explores the idea that intelligence isn’t one single unit of measurement. Some intelligence models may limit it to scientific or mathematical ability; Gardner, a psychologist at Harvard University, proposed that people can be intelligent across eight different areas, which led to intelligence reframed as more than just doing well in particular subjects, which allowed for respecting individual differences. For example, musical accomplishments or skill in playing a musical instrument could indicate musical intelligence, while those with a good sense of how to interact with people may have interpersonal intelligence, even if they are not particularly good at math.
What are the 8 areas of intelligence in Gardner's test?
Gardner developed eight areas of intelligence: verbal-linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial-visual intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and naturalist intelligence.
What are the three components of Howard Gardner's definition of intelligence?
Gardner’s definition of intelligence has multiple components. He believed intelligence included a person’s ability to solve problems and do something valuable, as well as gathering new knowledge required to do these things.
How do you take a multiple intelligence test?
There are versions of multiple intelligence tests online that can give you some insight into your talents and skills, but it can be a good idea to consult with a therapist or psychologist to go over your results. Online counseling can help you figure out your talents and passions and figure out a way to pursue them in your life.
What are the basic principles of Gardner's theory?
Gardner’s theory is based on the idea that intelligence is more than a single measurement of how good someone is at things like math or science. He believed intelligence could span many areas, including music, art, words, and emotions.
What are the 3 most commonly used tests for intelligence?
There are many intelligence tests out there, but three of the most commonly used are the WISC, Standford-BINET, and WAIS.
The WISC, or Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, measures intelligence in young people ages six to 16. It scores test takers in five areas: verbal comprehension, visual-spatial, fluid reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The WISC was designed in 1939, but it has been updated regularly over the years; the current version is the WISC-V, which was updated in 2014 and has 21 subtests for accurate measurement.
The Stanford-BINET test also gauges intelligence over five areas: fluid reasoning, knowledge, quantitative reasoning, visual-spatial processing, and working memory. It measures verbal and non-verbal responses, and each of the five factors is weighed and combined to give an IQ. This test was originally developed in 1905. It is currently in its fifth edition, which was released in 2003.
The WAIS, or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, was created in 1955 to assess the intelligence of older adolescents and adults. The fourth edition was released in 2008. It evaluates a range of skills, like verbal comprehension and reasoning.
What is the purpose of an intelligence test?
People may take an intelligence test for many reasons, but it can be used to measure intellectual potential or diagnose intellectual disabilities.
How is Gardner's multiple intelligences used?
One of the ways that Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is used is in the classroom. Teachers may use different approaches when teaching hard-to-reach learners. Teachers can appeal to various intelligence types to draw students into the lesson and help them better understand the material, enjoy learning, and discover their favorite classes.
That said, Gardner is quoted as saying, "Multiple intelligences should not, in and of itself, be an educational goal." This statement describes a hesitation about catering curriculum around intelligence types, as he also believed that people’s intelligence levels could grow and change over time.
How to use Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences in the classroom?
Despite Gardner seeming hesitant to use his theory to shape curriculum, it has considerable popularity with teachers, who may believe they can give students better options to learn class material by providing a range of opportunities to engage a variety of learners. For example, learners with verbal-linguistic intelligence may learn best through spoken and written language, so they might excel at reading basic books and writing an essay about what they’ve learned or new words they noticed. Students with logical-mathematical intelligence may learn better from gathering details to develop equations and putting together charts and graphs, while those with visual-spatial intelligence might get more from creating a collage or drawing a map.
What are the 8 types of intelligence?
In Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory, the eight types of intelligence are verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial-visual, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist intelligence.
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