Gardner Intelligence Paper

            Intelligence can be defined “as the application of cognitive skills and knowledge to learn, solve problems, and obtain ends that are valued by an individual or culture” (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, p. 264). There has been many conceptual frameworks developed around the idea of intelligence, but Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences has most accurately portrayed it. Kowalski and Westen (2009) assert that Gardner acknowledged there could be no single acceptable list of human intelligences, but went about selecting an intelligence based on whether it could be neuropsychologically isolated, such as whether it “has its own modes of representation, its own rules or procedures, and its own memory systems” (p. 279). With this view of intelligence, we now have a reason why one may excel in one area but possess low ability in the other intelligences; since each of the intelligences is isolated neuropsychologically with distinct systems, Gardner provides evidence for this intellectual phenomenon.

Gardner’s theory “identifies eight intelligences: musical, bodily/kinesthetic (such as the control over the body and movement that distinguishes great athletes and dancers), spatial (the use of mental maps), linguistic or verbal, logical/mathematical, naturalist, intrapersonal (self-understanding), and interpersonal (social skills)” (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, p. 279). For our purposes, we will discuss how the interpersonal, verbal/linguistic, and logical/mathematical intelligences influence one’s personal success.

Interpersonal Intelligence

            One high in interpersonal intelligence possesses the ability to relate to others through realizing their moods, motivations, and feelings (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007). For a person working in sales this intelligence’s abilities would be required to be efficient and effective at making sales to customers. Carter, Bishop, and Kravits (2007) describe the abilities associated with this intelligence as seeing things from other’s perspectives, cooperating within a group, verbally and nonverbally communicating, and creating and maintaining relationships. Without the ability to effectively relate to others, one who is neurotic may create a distorted image of his or her social interactions. In order for people to socially connect, understanding of perspectives must be reciprocal.

Verbal and nonverbal communication is essential in everyday interaction; otherwise one may feel frequently misunderstood or unheard. Frequent inability to cooperate within a group will make it difficult to create and maintain relationships. For a person looking to become a social worker, sociologist, counselor, therapist, teacher, nurse, or an anthropologist (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007), interpersonal intelligence is necessary to excel in these careers. From personal experience, not knowing how to accurately read other people can inevitably lead one to assume the worst about others. Carter, Bishop, and Kravits (2007) acknowledge that there are strategies that can maximize interpersonal intelligence, such as studying in a group, using flashcards with others, discussing information with others, and teaching someone.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence

For those seeking careers as a physicist, chemist, systems analyst, or in computer science, logical/mathematical intelligence is crucial to understanding the logical reasoning and problem solving involved in these types of careers (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007). Even those not wanting to enter in these types of careers would do well to strengthen this intelligence considering that problem solving is an everyday occurrence that utilizes logical reasoning. The skills associated with this intelligence include recognizing abstract patterns, performing complex calculations, reasoning inductively and deductively, discerning relationships and connections, and reasoning scientifically (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007).

When it comes to one’s financial choices, lacking the ability to perform complex calculations and reason inductively and deductively could lead to poor financial decisions. To strengthen this intelligence, Carter, Bishop, and Kravits (2007) identify the following strategies: Organize material logically, write outlines and develop charts, explain material sequentially to someone, develop systems and find patterns, and analyze information. In our technological age of advertisement, analyzing the information on television commercials can help one know whether or not he or she needs a certain product, since every advertisement tries to make one believe that he or she cannot do without it.

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence

One high in this intelligence maintains the ability to communicate through language, such as listening, reading, writing, or speaking (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007). In contemporary America, one lacking in this intelligence is at a marked disadvantage since this is the primary means of dealing with others. One with poor speaking skills would have confidence issues in addressing the grocery store clerk and may thereby cause poor listening skills. The abilities associated with this intelligence are analyzing own use of language, explaining, teaching, or learning using humor, understanding syntax and word meaning, convincing someone to do something, and remembering terms easily (Carter, Bishop, & Kravits, 2007).

For those individuals low in this intelligence, they may be the one being convinced to do something rather than convincing others to do something. Those looking for a career as an author, journalist, speech pathologist, business executive, and copywriter or editor may want to strengthen this intelligence. Carter, Bishop, and Kravits (2007) include the following maximization strategies: read text and highlight no more than 10 percent, rewrite notes, outline chapters, teach someone else, and recite information or write scripts/debates. A person with poor listening and speaking ability may have problems socially connecting from a lack of confidence in his or her communication abilities.

Influence on Personal Success

Our culture is based around people’s everyday abilities to communicate using language, reason logically about life problems, and relate to others by realizing their moods, motivations, and feelings. The skills associated with each of the intelligences discussed are crucial to success in one’s everyday life.

When we get ourselves dressed in the morning to the route we plan on taking to work relies on skills associated with logical/mathematical intelligence; once at work, effective interpersonal and verbal/linguistic skills assure that we communicate effectively with those around us; after work, these skills are equally important in creating and maintaining social relationships. However, one lacking in these skills may compensate with skills from other intelligences, but these three are beneficial to an individual’s personal success.

















Carter, C., Bishop, J., & Kravits, S. L. (2007). Keys to college studying: Becoming an        active thinker. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2009). Psychology (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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