Howard Gardner’s – Multiple Intelligence Model


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In order to determine which primary grade school students were at risk for failure, in 1904, the minister of public instruction in Paris requested psychologist Alfred Binet develop a test.

Alfred and some of his colleagues developed an intelligence test. The results of Alfred’s test became known the IQ score. About 80 years later, psychologist Howard Gardner suggested that because each person’s brain is wired differently, the objective standard of an IQ score was too narrow a measure.

Today, there is general agreement that human potential is multifaceted. Howard Gardner’s robust lens for understanding human potential is widely accepted.  Gardner identified 9 possible intelligences or learning profiles as follows:


  1. verbal/linguistic – reading and writing reports
  2. logical/mathematical – the ability to handle maths, organize and sequence
  3. bodily/kinaestheitc – motor skills; the ability to handle equipment
  4. visual/spatial – the use of patters, color, shading to create a productive workplace or market goods
  5. musical/rhythmic (auditory) – ability to attend to tone, volume when dealing with people, machines, or the environment
  6. interpersonal – the ability to understand the needs of others and of self and respond appropriately
  7. intrapersonal – having insight into one’s own feelings, goals, ethics
  8. naturalist – ability to relate to and profit from the natural environment
  9. philosophical ethical – ability to align aims and objectives with team mates and the larger organization

According to Garner:

  1. everyone has all of the 9 intelligences
  2. most of us can bring each intelligence to an adequate level of functioning
  3. there is a complex interaction between the intelligences – for example cooking a meal requires at least four (linguistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal)
  4. there are many ways of expressing an intelligence -for example, linguistic intelligence can be expressed in reading or telling a story
In practical terms, organizations can profit from Gardner’s model by applying it to:
  1. job descriptions
  2. reduce interview time by refining the criteria for matching staff with roles
  3. create better balanced teams
  4. supporting staff productivity
  5. exert more effective leadership