Topic 2: The 9 Intelligences

One of the most remarkable contributions of the theory is the explanations provided about the value of recognizing complex mechanisms of learning through nine different intelligences. Gardner’s MI theory proposes nine intelligences where all humans are intelligent in a specific set of attributes according to these domains within a culture or a society. 

The nine intelligences involve nine distinct domains: 

1) verbal-linguistic

2) logical-mathematical 

3) spatial 

4) bodily-kinesthetic

5) musical/rhythmic 

6) intrapersonal 

7) interpersonal

8) naturalistic and 

9) existential 

(Gardner, 2006). 


The nine intelligences are briefly described in Table 1.

Table 1: Howard Gardneru2019s multiple Intelligences

A critical aspect of the MI theory is that each of the intelligences has its unique developmental trajectory which involves different core processing operations (Gardner, 2006). This means that people have domains where they are intellectually strong, while at the same time areas with relative weaknesses exist; even within a specific intelligence domain. Although all the nine intelligences function simultaneously in people, their capacity levels vary as there are various combinations within a person’s profile (Armstrong, 2009). Moran et al. (2006) relate the individual profile with an orchestra where each intelligence is viewed as an instrument which interferes with others; compensates for others or enhances others. Castejon et al. (2010) confirmed by using a factor analysis that the different dimensions of MI are not independent. Similarly, Gardner (2006) has demonstrated through the Arts PROPEL study the rich diversity of the ways people utilize their skills both within each intelligence area and between the intelligences.