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Many years ago it was quite common to label someone with a high IQ as a “genius” or as being more intelligent than others. Albert Einstein is one of those men who were labeled as a genius because of all that he had accomplished at such a young age. Undeniably, Einstein’s smarts were extremely remarkable, but records show that he was not the best student. Although Einstein scored extremely well in areas like Math and Physics, it has been noted that in areas like linguistics, he did not excel (Albert Einstein, 2005).
Does this make Einstein, any less of a genius? According to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, a person’s intelligence isn’t necessarily measured in standardized testing or school grades. Gardner identifies that each person’s learning style is different, so the intelligence could excel in any of the eight styles: Linguistic, Musical, Logical, Naturalistic, Visual, Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). This means that someone like Ludwig van Beethoven who may not have been as scholarly as Albert Einstein, can still be considered a genius due to his musical intelligence.
The eight different intelligences described by Gardner are what he believed to be the eight strengths in which a person can learn. Gardner believed that because everyone can learn in one of these eight different styles, then they could excel in any of the respective fields. A person who possesses a linguistic intelligence is described as someone who uses words and communication effectively. A person with linguistic intelligence would have excellent auditory skills, and translates everything into words or speech.
On the other hand, someone who possesses the learning style of spatial intelligence would be most comfortable with graphics, physical imagery, and visuals (Campbell, 1992). However, someone with a preference to the kinesthetic style of learning would be most comfortable with being hands on.
They learn by doing, touching, and anything that involves physical activity, therefore their intelligence might look more like acting out, or role playing. Another learning style of multiple intelligences described by Gardner is naturalistic. Someone who possesses a naturalistic style of learning is more in tune with their surroundings, and focus a lot with what nature is giving them. The naturalistic intelligence was not added to the multiple intelligences until much later. Gardner’s theory was introduced to naturalistic in response to the nature versus nurture debate, in which a person learns from their surroundings, or environment in which they are in (Sulaiman, Hassan, & Yi, 2011). One of the bigger learning styles in Gardner’s theory is that of intrapersonal and interpersonal. Intrapersonal is that in which a person learns from themselves. Someone who keeps to themselves and does not get socially involved (Campbell, 1992). On the complete different spectrum, is the interpersonal learning style.
Like a social butterfly, interpersonal refers to someone who works well with others, enjoys working in teams, center of attention, and just like they seek attention of others, others seek their attention as well. I personally identify with the interpersonal school of learning the best out of all of the intelligences in Gardner’s theory. I mostly work well when accompanied by others. I am a team player, and team leader. Others usually seek to me for advice, and I tend to deliver my best results, when working with others. This is the intelligence that is mostly credited with the slang term of “street smarts” (Sulaiman, Hassan, & Yi, 2011). Having played sports for a big part of my life, I tend to carry my thoughts as a team. I carry the team and make sure to understand everyone on the team. I always think of others first, and having that one on one interaction is most important to me. Throughout my career, I have found myself to be in leadership roles quite frequently, because many others who are not strengthen by the interpersonal intelligence feel as if I can lead better due to the emphasis I put on team work, and my adequate level of communication with the entire team. In the work place I have found this quite helpful, and it has helped me become very successful.
The two other intelligences outlined in Gardner’s theory are that of musical and logical, or mathematical. Musical intelligence is referred to a person when they can relate everything to a rhythm, or sequence. Someone who possesses musical intelligence is also aware of the sounds and music space in their surroundings. Someone with musical intelligence would be aware of dichotic listening, and understand the importance of noise (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Music is a very big part of my life, what I do, and how I do it. I can remember growing up and not being able to go to sleep until music was playing in the background. I find myself being almost allergic to quite. I tend to do my best work when either I have music playing in the background, or if the TV is on. While in school, I usually found myself while studying, to be singing. I tend to associate rhyme and rhythm to a lot of the new things that I learn. According to Gardner, someone who possesses a musical intelligence is sensitive to sound, and could hear music, or find the rhythm to anything, even before the words are spoken (Campbell, 1992). The last intelligence in Gardner’s theory is logical intelligence, or most commonly known as mathematical intelligence (Sulaiman, Hassan, & Yi, 2011).
Someone who occupies the logical intelligence are said to think abstractly. They mostly need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with details. They calculate results, enjoy working the mind in the way that really uses the prefrontal vortex more than any other intelligence. Someone with logical thinking is believed to be someone who takes their time to analyze all possible circumstances, and work the problem for an answer. This type of person likes puzzles and word games to stimulate the brain. I identify myself as being a logical thinker due to the fact that one of my strengths is to be analytical. Albert Einstein was believed to belong in this intelligence field, due to his work in mathematics and physics. I find my intelligence to not be at the level of Einstein by any means, but I do relate to his earlier work being proficient in the math field over the linguistic (Albert Einstein, 2005). Since English is not my first language, growing up in the United States, going to school was very difficult for me, but numbers became my safe haven.
Having learned numbers at a very young age (according to my teachers, I knew how to add and subtract by the time I was 3) I find myself most attracted to professions in which analytical thinking is required. Having worked as a District Investigator, it was required of me to look at paperwork and identify the fraud, or identify the theft by finding the patterns, or the number sequence. A big part of my job was to analyze transactions, and compare them to video images. Things are always better explained to me if broken down into patterns. Although Gardner divided the intelligences into eight separate categories, his theory believed that a person does not just dominate one intelligence, but rather takes a bit from all of the intelligences collectively.
Just like it could be clearly identified that Albert Einstein that dominated the logical intelligence, his work shows that he might have possessed the intrapersonal intelligence as well as the spatial intelligence (Campbell, 1992). Gardner believed that the intelligence of someone could not necessarily be measured, by testing, but mainly by teachings, and learning styles. I feel as if I most identify with musical intelligence, logical intelligence, and interpersonal intelligence. My career thus far would suggest that these fields have brought me much success, but in my recent career change from Criminal Justice to Psychology, I will most likely learn to domain in the linguistic and spatial intelligence.
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