Specific Intelligences

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Specific Intelligences

Soon after intelligence tests were developed, it was found that some people did better on some tests, and some did better on other tests. As well as using this to develop new tests of general intelligence with less of this problem, this proved an excellent opportunity for the development of various smaller tests designed to measure these differences.

Among the first of these tests for extra abilities to be developed were tests that measured verbal, visuo-spatial, and numeric aptitudes. Later on various others were detected, including some that only showed up when specific areas of the brain were damaged. These diagnostic test will not be dealt with here, as that is more to do with psychometrics than IQ tests.

By 1980, Howard Gardener had formulated a set of seven different specific types he could test for, which of course he had to think up his own names for. these include:

  • Linguistic: Dealing with words and their meanings. Language stuff. Important for poets and writers, linguists and scientists. Verbal skills were part of what was measured by traditional IQ tests.

  • Spatial: The ability to visualize things and manipulate them in your head. Architects and chess players seem to excel in this skill.

  • Logical-mathematical: Part of traditional IQ tests. The ability to reason things out and to draw correct conclusions about things. Mathematicians and scientists will need this skill. So will Musicians.

  • Musical: The ability to compose music and to understand it - pitch (notes), timbre (the sounds of the different instruments) and rhythm are the main aspects of music. Important for musicians obviously, but if the top mechanics who can hear what is wrong with an engine don't score high here it would be very surprising.

  • Interpersonal: Social skills - the ability to understand and get along well with people in general. Useful for politicians, leaders and those working in the social sciences. Also hairdressers, bartenders, prostitutes, psychotherapists, etc.

  • Intra-personal: The ability to understand and control ones inner self. Motivators and coaches excel here.

  • Body-kinesthetic: The ability to co-ordinate ones physical actions and to understand ones own body. Dancers and athletes would rate highly here. Other types who need good hand-eye co-ordination would also score high here like jugglers, pilots, etc.

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