8 Intelligences: Are You a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One? | Best of ’16

Currently I think there are eight intelligences
that I’m very confident about and a few more that I’ve bene thinking about. I’ll share that with our audience. The first two intelligences are the ones which
IQ tests and other kind of standardized tests valorize and as long as we know there are
only two out of eight it’s perfectly fine to look at them. Linguistic intelligence is how well you’re
able to use language. It’s a kind of skill that poets have, other
kinds of writers, journalists tend to have linguistic intelligence, orators. The second intelligence is logical mathematical
intelligence. As the name implies logicians, mathematicians,
scientists have that kind of intelligence. They’re able to do mathematical proofs. They’re able to do scientific reasoning
and experimentation. And it’s great to have language and logical
intelligence because most tests really focus on that. And if you do well in those tests as long
as you stay in school you think you’re smart. But if you ever walk out into Broadway or
the highway or into the woods or into a farm you then find out that other intelligences
are at least this important. So the third intelligence is musical intelligence
and that’s the capacity to appreciate different kinds of musics, to produce the music by voice
or by an instrument or to conduct music. And people say well music is a talent. It’s not an intelligence. And I say well why if you’re good with words
is that an intelligence but if you’re good with tones and rhythms and timbres nobody’s
ever given me a good answer which is why it makes sense to talk about musical intelligence. And at certain cultures over history musical
intelligence has been very important. The fourth intelligence is spatial intelligence. That’s the intelligence which allows us
to handle and work in space that’s close by. A chess player would have spatial intelligence. A surgeon would have spatial intelligence. But there’s another variety of spatial intelligence
which we use for a much broader navigation. That’s what an airplane pilot or a sea captain
would have. How do you find your way around large territory
and large space. Similarly with the fifth intelligence bodily
kinesthetic intelligence it comes in two flavors. One flavor is the ability to use your whole
body to solve problems or to make things. And athletes and dancers would have that kind
of bodily kinesthetic intelligence. But another variety is being able to use your
hands or other parts of your body to solve problems or make things. A craft person would have bodily kinesthetic
intelligence even if they weren’t particularly a good athlete or dancer. The sixth intelligence and seventh intelligence
have to do with human beings. Interpersonal intelligence is how you understand
other people, how you motivate them, how you lead them, how you work with them, how you
cooperate with them. Anybody at any workplace with other people
needs interpersonal intelligence. Leaders hopefully have a lot of interpersonal
intelligence. But any intelligence can be used in a pernicious
way so the salesman that sells you something you don’t want for a price you don’t want
to pay, he or she has got interpersonal intelligence. It’s just not being used in a way that we
might prefer. The seventh kind of intelligence is difficult
to assess but it’s very important. It’s intrapersonal intelligence. It’s the understanding yourself. If we go back a way in history and prehistory
knowledge of yourself probably wasn’t that important because people did what their parents
or grandparents did whether they were hunters or fisherman or craftspeople. But nowadays especially in developed society
people lead their own lives. We follow our own careers. We often switch careers. We don’t necessarily live at home as we
get older. And if you don’t have a good understanding
of yourself you are in big trouble. So that’s intrapersonal intelligence. The eighth intelligence which I added some
years ago is the naturalist intelligence. And that’s the capacity to make important
relevant discriminations in the world of nature between one plant and another, between one
animal and another. It’s the intelligence of the naturalist,
the intelligence of Charles Darwin. I missed it the first go around when I wrote
about it but I tried to atone by adding it to my list. And by the way you might say well but nature
isn’t so important anymore. But in fact everything we do in the commercial
world uses our naturalist intelligence. Why do I buy this jacket rather than another
one? This sweater rather than another one? One hair style rather than another? Those all make just the naturalist intelligence
because the brain is very adaptive. And when an old use of a brain center no longer
is relevant it gets hijacked for something new. So we’re all using our naturalist intelligence
even if we never walk out into the woods or into the savannah of East Asia. The two other intelligences which I’m interested
in, one of them is called the teaching or pedagogical intelligence. The intelligence which allows us to be able
to teach successfully to other people. Now you could have two people who have exactly
the same expertise and knowledge in the field but one is a very good teacher and the other
isn’t. That probably doesn’t surprise individuals
so much. But what got me fascinated was as young as
two or three kids already know how to teach. Now what does that mean? You show a child how to do something let’s
say a three or four year old and then you ask the child to explain it to an older person
or to a younger person. And even the three or four year old will explain
it very differently to a young person, will go through details, point things and speak
slowly. And with an older person it would be much
more elliptical and say well you do this and that and then you can figure it out. So that shows as young as three let’s say
we already have teaching intelligence. The other one is one which I think is going
to be difficult to prove to a skeptic but I call it existential intelligence. And existential intelligence is the intelligence
of big questions. Philosophical questions, artistic questions. What does it mean to love? Why do we die? What’s going to be in the future? My pet bird might have more musical intelligence. The rats who are scurrying around the floor
might have more spatial intelligence. But no other animals have existential intelligence. Part of the human condition is to think about
questions of existence. And I like to say every five year old has
existential intelligence because five year old are always asking why this, why that. But the difference between a five year old
and a philosopher is the five year old doesn’t pay too much attention to the answer whereas
philosophers and other people who develop existential intelligence are really very interested
in how we attack questions like that. So again where there’s eight intelligences
or ten or twelve is less important to me than having broken the monopoly of a single intelligence
which sort of labels you for all time. I think if we lived forever we could probably
develop each intelligence to a very high degree. But life is very short and if you devote too
much attention to one intelligence you’re not going to have much time to work on other
kinds of intelligences. And so the big question is should you play
to strength or should you bolster weakness? And that’s a value judgment. Scientists cannot give you an answer to that. If, for example, you want to be a jack of
all trades and be very well rounded then probably you’re going to want to nurture the intelligences
which aren’t that strong. If on the other hand you’re dead set on
really coming to the top of some particular heap then you’re probably going to find
the intelligences that you’re strongest at and really push those. And, you know, if a parent came to me and
said well should we supplement or should we accentuate I would say well tell me what you
would like your child to do. Or better let the child tell you what he or
she wants to do rather than say well science says you should do one or the other. I think it’s a question of values, not of
science. Some people think there’s such a thing as
humor intelligence. But, in fact, I don’t. I think humor intelligence is simply the operation
of a logical intelligence in some realm like human nature or physical nature or the workplace. And what happens is in humor there’s a certain
expectation and you flip that expectation so it’s logic but it’s logic that’s
played out in different kinds of ways. People had mentioned there’s such a thing
as a cooking intelligence, a humor intelligence and a sexual intelligence. And I quipped well that can’t be intelligences
because I don’t have any of them.

100 Replies to “8 Intelligences: Are You a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One? | Best of ’16”

  1. great video. interesting to see the way people work within their natural intelligences and strengths. it's very clear it isn't just "one" intelligence. rather many areas.

    fyi the fringe idiots claiming "it's all wrong" is nonsense. everyone agrees intelligence isn't just one rigid thing. it's many which is demonstrable and this guy elaborates well

  2. the vizualisation of 3d objects or design something and see it working on your mind. and also hearing people voices by thinking and remembering them,. that another kind of intelligence.

  3. As a kid, I was articulate in language. My parents and relatives called me intelligent. I sucked in math. My confidence dropped. I thought I had been decieved my whole life. Internet videos like these are not just informing but therapeutic too, they give me an understanding of what I was going through. I don't hold a grudge against anyone, because they have been misguided and misinformed themselves.

  4. stop twisting the things… there"s only one intelligence and it has a single definition: the skill of solving problems! any kind of problems… no mater their specific or particular nature. period.

  5. seems to me prof. gardner equivocates the concept of intelligence with general areas of performance: of course people are differently capable at different domains, some being better at music and others better at recognizing species and whatever, but calling those general areas of performance 'intelligences' is just a way to water down and ultimately erase the original concept of intelligence as a general cognitive capacity which enables people to acquire skills and understand complex phenomena and all the rest of it. the multiple intelligences model makes one feel very egalitarian and fair and whatnot, but the fact remains that there's a strong g factor, and that some people are simply smarter than other people. we may not like admitting this because we prefer to think that everyone's good for something and that we're all the same, but we're not.

  6. This is very interesting and thought provoking, but I'd love to know what his definition of an intelligence is. What does he consider a skill and what does he consider intelligence?

    For example, traditionally, intelligence is marked by two traits – being able to learn quickly, and being able to solve problems. He didn't mention either of these two. Why would creative problem solving not be an intelligence? I.e. being able to think outside the box, and find creative solutions that others might not find? And in learning, being able to understand new concepts quickly. And being able to combine new concepts learned to form independent hypotheses that are independent of anything taught to the person. Or from a different perspective (maybe more Pavlovian), being able to derive conclusions from fewer data than other people. e.g. learning that when you push the button food comes out.

  7. Summary:

    The kinds of Intelligence mentioned are:

    1. Linguistic Intelligence: Journalist
    2. Logical Intelligence: Mathematician

    3. Musical Intelligence:
    4. Spatial intelligence: Work in space that's close by. Chess, Surgeon, Pilot, Sea Captain
    5. Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence: Using whole body to do things.
    Dancers, Sports and Crafts people
    6. Interpersonal Intelligence: Understanding other people. Leaders and sales people
    7. Intra-personal Intelligence: Understanding yourself. It is important because people lead their own lives, take their own careers, switch careers. If you don't understand yourself, you're in big trouble.
    8. Naturalist Intelligence: The intelligence of Charles Darwin

    9. Existential Intelligence: Only Humans are capable of this. Questions like:
    Why does it mean to love? Why do we have to die? What's gonna happen in the future?

    10. Teaching Intelligence:

  8. I find that some people, including myself, have multiple intelligences. Also, Google spell check doesn't recognize the spelling of that word, "intelligences."

  9. Can Big Think stop giving credence to theories that have essentially no support? The main prediction of this theory has never been observed in studies. Namely, that each intelligence is independent. Research finds the contrary: that each intelligence is correlated with a general intelligence factor, or "g," otherwise known as a plain old intelligence. It's a feel-good theory, but reality is often not very "feel-good." Some people are more or less intelligent than others. Just as some people are more or less athletic than others, or sociable than others. As Einstein put it "nature distributes her gifts variously among her children."

  10. Humor could be emergent of logic and interpersonal. I expect (provided one buys into the scheme) that most qualities and abilities are combinations of 2 or more.

  11. Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope stop it this is just so sad that u think there are an exact number of intelligences, the truth is there are so many intelligences and u think that there are only 8 a single number really? No just no i can't accept this this video also lets people down what if they aren't any of these "intelligences" hmm? Yea do not only is this video giving out wrong information it's letting people down and lowering there confidence on their intelligences AND ESPECIALLY when this video is coming from one person. ONE SINGLE PERSON. I will now ask u to fucking delete this video. PLEASE I CANT HANDLE THIS. I think im going crazy right now omg i just want to meet this old man in real life and debate with him until he notices that there is no INTELLIGENCE NO 8 INTELLIGENCES OKKKKK OHHHHHH IM PISSED

  12. This cunts like a robot trying to talk about human beings and the world, he's an older dude with an older perspective. Theres nothing wrong with that but it should not be looked up to.

  13. Well, so is there a test app on Facebook for these intelligences already, that would tell me which type of street sign are my intelligence most similar to?

  14. "Good leader hopefully has good interpersonal intelligence" … stop attacking Trump! Give him a chance first, he's not retarded etc. etc.

  15. So, someone with a strong intrapersonal intelligence will know if they want to either work on their weak intelligence continue to pursue their strong intelligence.
    Also, isn't autism is essentially just someone with a low interpersonal intelligence?

  16. He missed one. The ability to comprehend how the world interacts with you through senses and the levels at which each being can understand it and applies it in their everyday life. Example is the alarm clock in your head. Some people don't even use alarm clocks.

  17. Very important to know this and share it (as a teacher) so kids all know they are gifted…often in more than one way. Dyslexic students struggle with those that shine in class, but absolutely thrive in intelligences that the world needs!

  18. He forgot "street smarts". I've got a 3rd grade education, but have managed to create my own business making butt-loads of money. If I was educated I'd be dangerous (I have a 150 IQ)…

  19. Dear Big Think and Dr Gardner,
    Existential intelligence was amazing. Although i think the teaching and interpersonal can be in one category and we can call it "Empathy". when will we acknowledge empathy as an intelligence? by empathy i mean "thinking from another person's perspective"

  20. The Texas government's response to my kind of intelligence was to make practicing law without passing the bar illegal. In 2007.

  21. truck driver, auto mechanics, chess player, football very good athletic good at inspireing people and teaching could be better at math deep thinker very curious mind

  22. This does seem like pseudoscience. But that's only because we understand so little of intelligence that it's hard to make any conclusions on it. It's true we need these different "intelligences", which I prefer to describe as ways of thinking or skills, for the maintenance and growth of society. But what correlates with overall intelligence is the mass of the brain. Though, we definitely need to fully understand the functions of the brain before we rush to any conclusions

  23. I'm very skeptical of the presumption,  "…no other animals have existential intelligence."  Some time ago, our mistreatment and slaughter of animals was almost universally rationalized in English-speaking culture with the idea that animals could not feel pain–which is patently false.  It's also quite apparent to me that a single person can indeed develop most if not all "types of intelligence" to a high degree–contrary to the claims made in this video.

  24. life might be short for you old man, but we are on the verge of biological and physical immortality. 2030 is the dawn of a new era

  25. What is the difference between memory and thinking power? And which of the 2 is called intelligence? If you know the difference, you know that this person is a small thinker and wrong.

  26. Thanks Howard Gardner and Big Think, this really did inspire me to dwell on this topic, and my questions are: What is the difference between being clever and being intelligent, is it a matter of ethics, and what is the mechanism that causes our society to promote and reward one over the other?
    For instance, if I zoom out a little from the sub-groupings it seems that intelligence is singular ie 'the quest for understanding' not involving ethics but cleverness can go two ways, hurtful or non-hurtful to others.

  27. All the things Howard Gardner mentioned were skills that could be learned and are usually thought to people. Can that be considered intelligence, something that is thought?

  28. Why is everyone so inclined to denounce IQ and IQ tests? It literally just seems like all these people either scored low or are too afraid to take a test themselves from fear of the result.
    Like seriously it's the most objective and reliable from of an intelligence test we have right now, why can't people respect it as that? Obviously it's not an absolute in terms of intelligence measurments, but that's no reason to disregard it because 'I believe that this sort of intelligence doesn't matter' or 'as long as you understand it's only two of the 200 forms of intelligence'.
    Why not just say fucking well done to people who get high scores and stop trying to patronise people who have higher merits of intellect.

  29. What about comedic intelligence? Is it the same as language? It seems to me that they could be significantly distinct, specially with the distinctions you make.

  30. Oh my goodness, I fell in love ❤️️with this old grandpa, I wish I'll be his friend and he just talks to me until I sleep

  31. multiple intelligences are a good thought but they have not empirically established. and there are hoards of people who have different types of intelligences. what about someone like betrand russel

  32. He's talking about vocations at this level. Do you have the intelligence to perform a particular task…

  33. I feel like these aren't really types of intelligence as they are different applications of intelligence. Cause intelligence really is just like one central thing in your head. It's like whenever you look at 5×3 and in your head you figure out the answer almost automatically. That's your intelligence perking up and figuring it out. Same with when you're trying to figure out what to say to someone or you're figuring out a word. The difference between someone who understands language and music well and someone who understands logic and people well is they just developed their application of intelligence in certain frequently used things. Which he could mean for all I know, but I wanted to make that distinction

  34. I would see it a bit diffrent, there is also an ability to have a better perceptional intelligence. But it makes absolutely sense to try to sort things in specilisation patterns, so mainly I agree.

  35. Artistic intelligence? The symbol as a primary cross cultural means of communication. Does that fit with the second intelligence? Ether

  36. Well,  whether the good professor is right or wrong at this point in a human's development is irrelevant.  What however is important is that the Education System that was created for the benefit of children is now so out of control that it is producing sub standard citizens.

    I don't think anyone would disagree with the reality that the American Education System is the worst of the Industrialized Nation.  The USA used to be number one in terms of educating its youth.  Today, we rant substantially behind many countries including Finland  and Taiwan.

    The reality is that the National Mission Statement of our government and our Academicians should be to build an educational framework which allows all children to develop according to their talents and interests.  That is not being done today.

    Education today is designed for the people that teach it.  The "children" and the "students" are not there to learn, but rather to be taught.  No one really cares when children don't succeed.  And that is the problem.

    There are no incentives for educators to perform.  And when there is no incentive, there can be no progress because people by their nature are generally lazy.

    The children are not the problem, the educators are.

    We should not be worrying as much about testing ONLY of children.  We should be testing the Educators to see whether they are building an education system that actually addresses the needs of the country, the state, the local climate and the child. 

    One thing we can all agree upon, and that is that we are not. Education on the lower level continues to fail at least 40 % of our population.  That is completely unacceptable

    Rather than arguing about how many "intelligences " there are, we should be arguing about WHY our education system dominated and controlled by the seeming "best " and the "brightest' is such a national and international disaster.

  37. All of the intelligences you've stated are redundant to each other, therefore only one kind of intelligence can exist. Stop making shit up.

  38. And in other news: A recent finding by statisticians shows the average human has one breast and one testicle.

  39. They're all talents not intelligence. Intelligence implies a fixed, innate ability while the behaviors you mentioned are learned.

  40. I agree with most of this. But to be fair, no one knows what animals are really thinking so for all we know, some do think about their existence to an extent.

  41. Gardner has been debunked. Intelligence as a construct is defined by the proxy IQ and needs to be tightly defined. Gardner is talking about something not related to g (the ability to solve complex problems) in the WAIS.

  42. I know a couple of people who have no existential intelligence, one is too much into nutzy videos that explain life and has no ability to chose what to think or believe in certain situations or why and virtually believes anything on youtube, another one has an extremely hedonistic view of life and when he is depressed by something like a divorce etc he never has anything even close to an epifany or any kind of self reflection, he just wallows and drinks.

  43. Existencial intelligence. I have come to believe that such intelligence can mostly be developed in solitude, further than refering to temporarily meditations I refer to living a lonely life, where you are least motivated by social trends. Years have taken me to conclude that, as I am my own subject of investigation.

    As a result of the way I was brought up and my adult life, I have come to ask questions like that, being the most common "what's the purpose of life?". And that, I think, it's mainly because I can't entirely identify myself with another individual, at the time that I can understand certain behaviors up to being sympathetic toward them.

    The understanding of how meaningless some human trends and even customs are, gives you space to ask questions that intended to go deeper in the meaning of our existence.

    Nowadays, because most humans simulate "personalities" behaviors, and the increasing connection between cultures, I will be more and more difficult for people like this to "survive", because I may understand my position most of the time, but there are lots of people who think they are just abnormal, because they won't find someone in their everyday life to discuss the tropics they think about everyday.

    An inconclusive comment, maybe,…but even scientists keep trying to understand the topic. So please don't blame me lol (lol to be more human).

  44. Here is how I would rate myself on a 1-10 scale for each.

    Linguistic Intelligence: 8
    Logical Mathematical Intelligence: 9
    Musical Intelligence: 1
    Spatial Intelligence: 10
    Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence: 4
    Interpersonal Intelligence: 5
    Intrapersonal Intelligence: 8
    Naturalist Intelligence: 5

  45. Jordan Peterson's research debunks this and all can be attributed to the Big 5 personality traits: Openess; Conscientiousness; Extraversion; Neuroticism; Agreeableness

  46. Musical intelligence and spacial intelligence go hand in had (as kinesthetic intelligence, of course ;-)).

  47. What about emotional intelligence? Or feeling intelligence such as picking up on vibes? Being an empath…

  48. 8+ intelligence(s)

    1 Linguistic
    2 Logical mathematical
    3 Musical
    4 Spatial
    5 Bodily kinesthetic
    6 Interpersonal
    7 Intrapersonal
    8 Naturalist
    a Pedagogical
    b Existential

    ~Howard Gardner

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