Monday, January 13, 2014

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

 By Dr Paula Zobisch

Howard Gardner (1983, 1993) introduced the theory of multiple intelligences and claimed humans were intelligent far beyond the traditional concept of math and language.  Gardner's definition of intelligence is "the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings – a definition that says nothing about either the sources of these abilities of the proper means of 'testing' them" (p. x).   Gardner declared we must broaden the concept of human intelligence by including a wider set of competencies.  

Gardner suggested eight intelligences (1999):
1.            Verbal-Linguistic intelligence, the ability to possess spoken and written language skills   (lawyers, speakers, educators);
2.            Logical-Mathematic intelligence, the ability to analyze problems logically and carry out   mathematical operations, and conduct scientific inquiry (mathematicians, statisticians,               scientists);
3.            Musical intelligence, appreciation  and recognition of rhythm and musical patterns           (musicians, composers, performers);
4.            Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, the ability to use part of all of one's body to solve             problems (athletes, dancers, surgeons, mechanics);
5.            Spatial intelligence, the ability to view and manipulate wide areas of space (navigators,                 pilots, graphic artists, architects);
6.            Interpersonal intelligence, the ability to understand the motivation and feelings of          others   (educators, salesperson, religious leaders, political leaders); and
7.            Intrapersonal intelligence, the recognition and understanding of one's own emotions    and desires and the "ability to use the information in productively regulating one's life"          p. 43.; and
8.            Naturalist intelligence, the recognition of flora and fauna (environmentalist, gardener, botanist, scientist)

Although the verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical are the only typical intelligences assessed in school, others scholars such as Goleman (1995) declared emotional intelligence, Gardner's intrapersonal intelligence, as the ability to motivate oneself and continue in the face of frustrations, to control impulse and delay gratification, and to regulate one's moods.  Beyond the traditional IQ that measures verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences as a predictor of academic success (and federal funding), Goleman believed IQ only contributed about 20% to the factors determining life success, while 80% of contributions were in other influences (McCoy, 1997, p. iii).

McCoy (1997) stated people who were aware of their feelings and have the ability to manage those feelings will enjoy a more satisfying and rewarding career and life. For this reason, it is critical sales people, Gardner's intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences, have a high emotional intelligence and not be discouraged or despair of frustrating circumstances frequently encountered during the sales process. Deeter-Schmelz and Sojka (2003) conducted a study that indicated a strong link between a salesperson's emotional intelligence and sales performance. In addition, the study indicated a high level of intrapersonal as well as interpersonal included in emotional intelligence. As defined by Goleman (1995), interpersonal intelligence is the ability to perceive and relate to the emotions of others. Both intrapersonal and interpersonal skills are key in successful and productive salespeople.

Deter-Schmelz, D. R., & Sojka, J. Z. (2003). Developing effective salespeople: Exploring the link between emotional intelligence and sales performance. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 11(3), 211-220
Gardner, H. (1983, 1993). Frames of mind. New York, NY: Basic Books
Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21 century. New York, NY: Basic Books
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York, NY: Bantam Dell
McCoy, B. H. (1997, April). Emotional intelligence provides key to life success. Real Estate Issues, 56(1), 103-104

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