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The MI Theory

Everything you need to know about the Multiple Intelligence Theory

Proposed by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983, this theory suggests that intelligence can be classified into various modalities rather than being dominated by a single general ability. Gardner categorized intelligences into three overarching categories. According to him intelligence is the ability to create an effective product or service that is valued in a culture, a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life, and the potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.

9 +1 Intelligences

Howard Gardner identified 9 multiple intelligences, and at Leapbridge we added to that list by adding one of our own - Cultural Intelligence. Here’s a detailed look at the various intelligences


Linguistic intelligence

This intelligence revolves around sensitivity to written and spoken language. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use words to express oneself rhetorically or poetically. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those who possess high linguistic intelligence.

Logical-mathematical intelligence

This intelligence consists of the capacity to carry out mathematical operations and investigate issues scientifically. In Dr. Howard Gardner’s words this intelligence is the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. Economists, scientists, engineers, etc. are among those who possess this intelligence.

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

This intelligence entails the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use one’s mind to co-ordinate bodily movements. This intelligence is predominantly seen in gymnasts, dancers, craftsmen and athletes.

Musical intelligence

This intelligence involves skill in performance. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones and rhythms. According to Dr. Gardner, musical intelligence runs in an almost parallel structure to linguistic intelligence.

Naturalist intelligence

This intelligence is concerned with a love for the environment. It is the ability to understand and be in tune with nature. Naturalist intelligence deals with sensing patterns and making connections with elements of nature.

Spatial intelligence

This intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use patterns of wide space and more confined areas. The ability to paint, draw, take photographs, create sculptures, etc. are indicative of spatial intelligence. This intelligence is highly developed in artists, explorers and navigators.

Interpersonal intelligence

This intelligence revolves around the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Educators, sales people, religious and political leaders are said to possess interpersonal intelligence.

Spiritual-moral intelligence

This intelligence is all about a sense of morals, rights and wrongs, the importance of peace with the world and oneself, etc. It guides one to follow the path of truth and honesty.

Intrapersonal intelligence

This intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, one’s own feelings, fears and motivations. Dr. Gardner believes this involves making an effective working model of ourselves and using it to regulate our lives.

Cultural intelligence

Not one of the original intelligences listed by Dr. Howard Gardner, cultural intelligence is something we developed ourselves after sensing a need to prepare our children to be able to fit in to a world that’s becoming ever more diverse. This intelligence involves the ability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity.