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Theoretical Views of Intelligence

Theoretical Views of Intelligence

Gardner Multiple Intelligence Theory and Sternberg Successful Intelligence Theory The two theoretical views of intelligence that are going to be focused on in this assignment are the Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory and Robert J. Sternberg’s successful intelligence theory.

Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory suggested different systems in the brain produce different types of intellectual capacities to approach problems and create products. He identified eight competencies and two tentative competencies, but allows that more may be discovered. These include linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, spiritual and existential intelligences (Gardner, 1993). Linguistic intelligence involves verbal aptitude which sensitive to written and spoken languages, the capability to learn languages, and the ability to use language to reach certain goals. Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the abstract reasoning skill to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composing, appreciation of musical patterns and playing instrument. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems, control fine and gross motor. Spatial intelligence recognises and uses the patterns of wide space, visualize objects, and find one’s orientation. Interpersonal intelligence consists of the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand own thoughts and feelings, fears and motivations, consequences and thus make effective changes. Sternberg successful theory of intelligence are defined as in a given sociocultural context, mental abilities are used to reach one’s goals in life through adaptation, selection and shaping of the environment (Sternberg & Kaufman, 1998, p. 494). The three broad distinct areas associated with successful intelligence are analytical, creative, and practical thinking. Analytical intelligence is the mental steps to solve problems, creative intelligence is the mental processes that lead to solutions, ideas, artistic forms, theories, products that are unique and novel (Reber & Reber, 2001) and practical intelligence is the ability to size up new situation and adapt to real-life demands.

Within the above theories, logical mathematical intelligence and analytical intelligence will be compared and contrasted. Firstly, definition of both theories will be compared. Then, both theories supported that the logical mathematic and analytical ability are educable, and lastly, Logical mathematical intelligence is the ability to reason, to calculate, to recognise patterns and to handle logical thinking (Gardner, 1993). In Howard Gardner’s words, it includes the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically and it is often related with scientific and mathematical thinking. Analytical intelligence is the capacity to analyze and evaluate ideas, compare and contrast, solve problems and make decisions (Sternberg, 1998)

Like a number of scholars, Gardner and Sternberg view intelligence as educable, result of biological end environmental factors, which includes people’s environments (Ceci, Nightungale, & Baker, 1992). Another is one’s motivation (Collier, 1994; Sternberg & Wagner, 1994) and training (Feuerstein, 1980).


Gardner, Howard (1983; 1993) Frames of Mind: The theory of multiple intelligence (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.

Smith, Mark K. (2002, 2008) Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences, the encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved Aug 10, 2009, from

Sternberg, R. J. ( 1996 ). Cognitive psychology. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.

Sternberg, R. J (1998). Journal of Principles of Teaching for Successful Intelligence, 33, 65-69. Retrieved Sept 10, 2009, from questia database.

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