by Ellen L. Buikema
Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University developed a theory of multiple intelligences.
Although every person’s brain has the same basic structure, we are born prewired, genetically speaking, to have different abilities. Experiences in life contribute to the brain’s development. No one has merely one type of intelligence. Unless highly disabled, all people are capable of developing several intelligences.
Multiple Intelligences Quiz
When taking this quiz and checking your strong intelligences, note how you use them in poetry, prose, and everyday life. The types of strong intelligences we employ affect how we approach life. For example, writers tend to develop characters using their personal strong intelligences. It’s helpful to remember that we need to consider all intelligences.
Note: Existential Intelligence — the sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why we die, and how did we get here — is not included in the questions. The quiz is short and is only a snapshot of the possible. I have included more information in the references.
- When I drive down the expressway, I pay more attention to the words written on billboards than necessary.
- My mind searches for patterns, regularities, or logical sequences in things.
- I like to doodle or draw.
- I find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time.
- My life would be poorer if there were no music in it.
- When I meet new people, I often make connections between their characteristics and those of other acquaintances.
- I have a special hobby or interest that I keep pretty much to myself.
- I enjoy trips to botanical gardens.
- I note other people’s errors in using words or grammar, even if I don’t correct them.
- I enjoy playing games that require logical thinking.
- I can generally find my way around an unfamiliar area.
- My best ideas come to me when I’m walking or engaging in some physical activity.
- I tend to sing little melodies or make tapping sounds while working or studying.
- People tend to come to me for advice.
- I feel I have a keen sense of what I can and cannot do.
- Given the choice, I prefer to work outside rather than indoors.
- My conversations include frequent references to things that I have read or heard.
- I believe that almost everything has a rational explanation.
- Geometry was easier for me than algebra in school.
- I frequently use hand gestures when conversing with someone.
- I can tell when a musical note is off key.
- I enjoy group games like Pictionary more than playing a video game by myself.
- I keep a diary or journal to record the events of my inner life.
- The weather page in the newspaper and/or the weather channel is important to me. Sometimes I like to outguess the weather forecasters.
If all three of any of the following trios applies to you, you probably are strong in that intelligence, even if you haven’t deliberately worked to cultivate it.
- Linguistic (1,9,17)
- Logical-Mathematical (2,10,18)
- Spatial (3,11,19)
- Body-Kinesthetic (4,12,20)
- Musical (5,13,21)
- Interpersonal (6,14,22)
- Intrapersonal (7,15,23)
- Naturalistic (8,16,24)
The following list gives activities a person with each intelligence knows almost intuitively and enjoys, as well as how to increase each type of intelligence.
- Uses words effectively orally and/or in writing
- Loves books, telling stories, playing word games
- Strengthened through: stories in-the-round, reading, brainstorming
- Uses numbers effectively and reasons well
- Loves patterns, questioning, experimenting
- Strengthened through: comparisons, categorizing, what do you think questions
- Accurately perceives and transforms the visual-spacial world
- Loves designing, doodling, visualizing
- Strengthened through: guided imagery, the game Pictionary, drawing pictures while giving an explanation, classifying things by color or type
Body – Kinesthetic Intelligence
- Uses entire body to express feelings and ideas, skilled with one’s hands
- Loves dancing, building , touching, running
- Strengthened through: acting out stories, charades, clay or dough sculptures
- Perceives, discriminates, transforms, and expresses musical forms (intuitive or technical)
- Loves moving to music, singing, humming, tapping
- Strengthened through: chants, songs, music for mood (ocean sounds during or before reading about the sea), finding emotion in music, listening for instruments, background music
- Exhibits sensitivity to the moods of others, built-in tact
- Loves parties, relating to people, organizing, leading
- Strengthened through: board games, acting, group stories
- Knows the self and is able to act adaptively, accurate idea of one’s strengths and limitations
- Loves dreaming, planning, meditating, quiet time
- Strengthened through: choice of activity, quiet thinking time, thinking music, sharing stories
- Has well-developed skills in observation, collecting ordering, and categorizing objects and information
- Loves nature walks, natural history museums, playing in the dirt
- Strengthened through: camping, trips to the park, the zoo, botanical gardens, study nature using magnifiers or binoculars
Ellen Buikema is a parent and former teacher. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, she received her M.Ed. specializing in Early Childhood. She has extensive post-graduate studies in special education from Northeastern Illinois University. Ellen writes short stories, poetry, adult nonfiction and children’s fiction, sprinkling humor everywhere possible. Ellen’s book, Parenting … A Work in Progress, is published and available online. Find her at ellenbuikema.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ecellenb.