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The Analysis Of The Intelligence Of Individuals And Groups

1415 words - 6 pages

The Analysis of the Intelligence of Individuals and Groups

Much controversy surrounds the subject of intelligence. Intelligence
tests were developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
century to assess the intelligence of individuals and groups. However,
criticisms quickly arose regarding tests due to results being used to
justify discrimination between different groups and cultures.
Theorists argued that the tests assess verbal, mathematical, and
spatial capabilities, but they do not directly examine other abilities
that seem to be inherent parts of intelligence: creativity, social
understanding, knowledge of one’s own strengths and weaknesses and so
on. This perspective led Howard Gardner to formulate his theory of
Multiple Intelligence. This essay will begin with a background of
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory and critique it.

Howard Gardner proposed that people have several kinds of
intelligences that are independent of one another, each operating as a
separate system in the brain according to its rules. The original
seven of his proposed ‘intelligences’ were linguistic, musical,
logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthentic, intrapersonal, and

There are many proponents of this theory, such as school teachers,
children educators and physiotherapists. Perhaps the greatest utility
of this theory is that it offers teachers a certain perspective into
the different manner in which learners may absorb knowledge. The
logical progression of this insight is that teachers should adjust
their teaching styles so that it appeal to the maximum number of
students ensuring thereby a more rapid understanding and retention of
the information being taught.

Notwithstanding this eager following and great utility, criticisms of
this theory abound. First, one needs to understand that Gardner’s
proposal is a theory and not a proven fact. As a result, after, much
revision, he revised his listing of ‘intelligences’ from the original
seven to include ‘naturalist’ and ‘existential’ ‘intelligences’. Other
scholars, such as Daniel T Willingham, professor of psychology at the
university of Virginia, questions the rigorousness of the criteria
that Gardner used to identify and formulate the listing of his
‘intelligences’. In this regard, professor Willingham cites Rodden et.
al (2003), Mc Ghee (1971) and Wyer & Collins (1992) and argues ‘By
these criteria I am also prepared to defend an ‘olfactory
intelligence’, a ‘spelling intelligence’, and to sub divide Gardner’s
spatial intelligence into near-space intelligence and far-space

Researchers such as Burt (1949), Cattell(1971), Thurstone(1941)
discussed many human abilities, including aesthetic, athletic, musical
and so on. Notions such as bodily-kinesthetic or musical ability

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