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Psychology 101: What Are the Components in Intelligence? a Different Explanation for Multiple Intelligences


In this psychology 101 article, we look at what are the components of intelligence. Fundamentally, taken from Binet's Intelligence Quotient to Howard Gardner's ideas of Multiple Intelligences, this research is still evolving.

However, has made significant advances in the realms of education and, in many ways, health practice and it's learning.

Before we start, we always like to remind the reader of what Psychology is:

Psychology Definition

As this is a psychology 101 based article, I will start by providing a ‘working definition’ of psychology as a term:

‘Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of humans and animals.’

Psychologists concentrate on what is observable and measurable in a person’s behaviour. This includes the biological processes in the body, although, the mind is central to the subject.

Dealing With Multiple Intelligences

There is more to intelligence than just I.Q. tests. Logic might be clever, but that doesn't exclude genius in other forms.

From creative writing, fine art to an eye for detail within the building industries, for example, are all valid forms of intelligence.

We are all geniuses with learning difficulties and it is intelligence within a niche which makes us who we are by what we produce. Grading people is, therefore, a social construction based upon what skill is valued the most at any given time.

Cultural Biased Binet's IQ

Past measurements of intelligence has been traditionally made on the basis of Binet's IQ (intelligence quotient). Tests in this format can be considered culturally biased and can be taught and learned in order to improve the scores.


Why Is Intelligence Quotient Culturally Biased?

An example of this is measurement of Jamaican immigrants into the UK in the 1950’s. Because they scored poorly in the realms of Intelligence Quotient tests, an assumption and stereotype was founded.

It was commonly thought that all black people were of an overall lower intelligence and, therefore, inferior to whites. However, this was culturally biased because black immigrants had been educated very differently – how can anyone pass an IQ. test when they haven’t learned to read or know the context for which the questions were designed from?

As you can see, these tests are very limited and biased in measuring how smart people are.

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Builds Upon Binet's Ideas.

Howard Gardner is a Harvard University Researcher. In 1983, he developed and showcased his theory of multiple intelligences. He questioned an emphasises on intelligence as traditionally thought of by Binet and the standard Binet-Stanford tests (you can read more about Binet and Intelligence here).

The idea that intelligence was just to do with problem solving, seemed too much like putting all the intelligence eggs in one basket, so to speak. Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences builds upon Binet's ideas.

8 Different Sets Of Intelligences, Providing A Holistic View Of Intelligence In Human Beings

There were a further 8 different sets of intelligences which no one had measured according to Gardner. This idea had a profound impact in education and the world’s view in the understanding of a holistic view of intelligence in human beings. His contribution might be considered on par with the forementioned Binet.

If in education, the teaching is targeted at one type of person, i.e. the logical mathematical student, then all the other types of student tend to be left behind. Intelligence is more than just logical. It is interpersonal, creative, exploratory, as well as academic.

  • People's needs vary according to their most predominant talent or intelligence.
  • People learn differently and thrive according to the learning style.
  • There is not one single method of teaching that accommodates all aspects of learning (for example as the influenced by logical learning from Binet's ideas on Intelligence Quotient).
  • Gardner's theory on Mulitiple Intelligences provides a good foundation to practice individualised education.

Intellectual Diversity And Multiple Intelligences

An educational system, like Montessori for example, that tap into all varieties of individuals aim to discover and nurture the best in student's talents.

Gardner, therefore, highlights the importance in such intellectual diversity and celebrates what individuals are good at.

His theory on multiple intelligences is a good way to categorize these talents, thereby providing a basis for good teaching methods adaptable to individual need.

Frames Of Mind - 1983

Howard Gardner's publication Frames of Mind (1983) outlines the various manifestations of intelligence. These consist of the following:

  • Logical Mathematical Intelligence - The ability to think logically and solve mathematical problems. The type of intelligence that Binet identifies (IQ).

This is the ability to analyse problems, solve puzzles and understand direct patterns. People who have this find processing logic and can reason across all spectrums. People like Stephen Hawking and Einstein are great examples of those that possess this intelligence.

  • Linguistic Intelligence & Verbal Intelligence - Learning, using and comprehending the written or spoken words.

The ability to use language as an aid to thinking in communication. People with this intelligence can use language powerfully and are great speakers. People like Martin Luther King and Adolf Hitler (example - Nuremburg ), lawyers, writers and poets, all demonstrate this innate ability.

  • Naturalistic Intelligence - The ability to identify patterns in nature and determine how individual objects or beings fit into them. A great example of this person with naturalistic intelligence is Charles Darwin. He developed the idea on evolution in animals and managed to associate humans in the same context.
  • Musical Intelligence - People with this ability are sensitive and have a great understanding of pitch, rhythm and sound. These people can be creative and experimental in all things auditory. They have a natural ability in playing and writing music. An example of a true genius in this realm is Mozart, however, when studying his biography, it is well known that he was lacking in the realms of tact and social intelligence.

  • Bodily & Kinesthetic Intelligence - People with this intelligence are supple, have great spatial awareness and are brilliant in coordination, balance and skill involving the body. People like footballers, gymnast's and acrobats are all clever in this area. With the ability to learn and execute physical movements, Eric Cantona is a prime example of genius in this area. However, take a look at these other clever footballers in this clip!
  • Spatial Intelligence - These people have the ability to easily use and recognise patterns and space. Map readers and measurers come to mind when thinking about an example. They can use images that represent spatial relations and implement these ideas in real life. Charles Minard was a genius map maker in the 1800s and exemplifies this skill.

  • Interpersonal Intelligence - These people have a special awareness of empathy, can communicate and understand the needs of others. They might be viewed as charming and have a skill that makes them popular amongst people. The ability to communicate and engage effective in social relationships with others is a paramount skill for which Tony Blair and Bill Clinton demonstrate.
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence - This is where there is an understanding and accepting oneself. It is the ability in knowing yourself and accepting your limitations as well as your strengths. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and self actualisation provides confidence with a good self perception of image. Buddha demonstrates a great example of this.
  • (Existential Intelligence - The Intelligence of big questions. For example, 'Who am I?', 'What is love?', 'Why do people die?', 'Is there more to life?'. These are people that are philosophers and thinkers. However, Gardner calls this his on-going project as he looks at more measurable evidence to test this. This is why I have placed this point in brackets.)

Gardner's Definition On Intelligence

'An intelligence is the biopsychological potential to process information in certain ways, in order to solve problems or fashion products that are valued in a culture or community.'

People Are A Mixture Of Components Of Intelligence

People are a hotch-potch, or mixture, of all these intelligences. Some are greater and some of lesser degrees. All these are contained within one individual, so making standardised learning of each one of Gardner’s categories more complex.

'Think of several relatively independent computers, not a single all purpose one'. (Gardner, 2008, Quote - 25 years of Multiple Intelligences at Harvard University).

We are all examples of Multiple Intelligences and these are what might be thought of as components of intelligence.

Howard Gardner On His Theory Of Multiple Intelligences

Psychology 101 Intelligence Summary

In this psychology 101 article, we discussed the idea of Multiple Intelligences by Gardner. This theory gives psychologists and educationalists something to build upon. Psychology theory is something that starts from an idea and then measured. It is, essentially, an evolving, changing thing that becomes updated over time - as and when new research techniques and technologies become paramount. Components of intelligence are multi-layered, as I hope that I have managed to outline effectively in this article. These facets make us the individual's that we are. By understanding intelligence in this way, we can strive to improve our potential by developing learning tools to assist in fulfilling this.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License


Use This Psychology 101 article at your own risk. This Psychology article does not give medical or psychological advice, neither does it give legal opinions and advice.  Any action or outcome that may result from this article is the sole responsibility of the reader.  This article is assumes no responsibility or legal claim against it.

© 2010 shazwellyn


lundmusik from Tucson AZ on September 19, 2011:

thx for your hub,, tried to do the same thing,, like your format and explication of some of the concepts of intelligence,, would appreciate your review of my "what is genius?"

shazwellyn (author) from Great Britain on November 19, 2010:

xixi - absolutely! But - hey - we are all on a journey to self discovery and what a great way in understanding yourself! You can then learn what is effective for you and grow as a human being. So glad to be of assistance :)

xixi12 from Everywhere but here. In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. You can never be truly free till you have the discipline to manage it. on November 19, 2010:

Very informative hub, just discovered am a combination of experience and visual learner.This will be very helpful for a teacher student relationship

shazwellyn (author) from Great Britain on November 18, 2010:

Thank you K9. You said ... 'What would you consider to be the most difficult learning style to teach?'

Students are individual. Some people are more visual (so learning through pictures, tv, internet - for example is easier for them), others are more auditory, whilst some are better at learning from experience, amongst other aspects.

Now, let me turn this around. The teacher is individual too. If they learn better at one aspect, they will be good at teaching that aspect. If they aren't good at learning another aspect, they would find teaching this more of an issue.

So, the answer to, what would you consider to be the most difficult learning style to teach, would be entirely down to what the teacher finds the most difficult to teach - they are individual and diverse too!

In studying for my City and Guilds in Further Education, I learned to teach the same point in many different ways to cover the diversity of the class. It's like different mixes of the same song:

Psychology 101 - What Are The Components Of Intelligence? - as on dvd (visual)

Psychology 101 - What Are The Components Of Intelligence? - ball game incorporating brainstorming activity (experiential)

Psychology 101 - What Are The Components Of Intelligence? - lecture (written/note taking formal/auditory).

Psychology 101 - What Are The Components Of Intelligence? - presentation - auditory/visual

Psychology 101 - What Are The Components Of Intelligence? - Internet (research, experiencing, visual, auditory etc)

As you can see, there are so many teaching styles to cover so many learning styles and you have to cover all pathways for students to 'get it'. This is why I always like a video in my hubs - it demonstrates my point in a different way.

I hope I have answered this satisfactory. Please feel free to ask, if in doubt. :)

shazwellyn (author) from Great Britain on November 18, 2010:

Eco-Ali, people with autistic spectrum disorders are extremely difficult to teach. The major problem is that people are very individual and, on top of that, children with ASD and ADHD are individual within their spectrum, individual within their personalities and intelligences. It really is a diverse 'person recipe' which is extremely difficult to consoladate in a mainstream setting.

Hats off to you!

India Arnold from Northern, California on November 18, 2010:

You have always amazed me with the level of research you dedicate yourself to achieve, I am impressed.

"The components of intelligence are multi-leveled", insightful! You make it clear that this kind of understanding within the study of intelligence leads to actually teaching the student in a manner where the student is most comfortable absorbing the new information.

What would you consider to be the most difficult learning style to teach?

Nice work here.


Eileen M Antolino from Central New Jersey ~Trenton/Princeton area on November 18, 2010:


Very well organized, researched and explicated. I first heard of "multiple intelligence" during my study of andragogy (methods of adult education) and online learning and teaching. Understanding the different categories of intelligence makes designing a course for a targeted type of student perhaps with a mental disorder that doesn't affect intelligence (ie: ADHD) an easier task. I've been researching this topic lately and am glad to have it handy in your Hub. Thanks!

shazwellyn (author) from Great Britain on November 17, 2010:

Damian - so that about covers it all then! Thanks, I am glad that you enjoyed it :)

shazwellyn (author) from Great Britain on November 17, 2010:

Lorlie - Thanks for popping by.

It was my intention to produce this article after my 'what is intelligence?' article. This was centralised around Binet and IQ. In that article, I touch on other forms of intelligence but didn't go into too much detail.

I see Binet's ideas as the foundation to the subject, followed by Gardner's multiple intelligences as something that builds upon this. There is more to come on this - intelligence is a huge subject!

damian0000 from Belfast on November 16, 2010:

Great hub Shazwellyn, love the videos and pictures as well, real pleasure to read!

Laurel Rogers from Grizzly Flats, Ca on November 16, 2010:

Love this, shazwellyn. You've done an admirable and exhaustive job. Thanks for such a well-researched Hub.

shazwellyn (author) from Great Britain on November 16, 2010:

Moxyl - which one of these intelligences are your predominately?

Moxy Lewis from London on November 16, 2010:

Very interesting and informative! Thx for sharing such!