Multiple Intelligences are the abilities that individuals possess that make them unique as well as enable them to excel at certain tasks. Howard Gardner and his associates at Harvard University developed the Multiple Intelligence Theory. They found that all individuals are capable of at least seven different ways of processing information and this processing of information can be categorized into specific intelligence profiles.

The seven Multiple Intelligences are:

Verbal/Linguistics often communicate with ease and understanding. They may learn and solve problems by listening and reading, asking questions, and using word memory devices (like mnemonic devices and acronyms). They frequently have the ability to remember names, dates and places, and love story telling. They generally have good listening skills and are able to use verbal and written language to explain thoughts and concepts.
Math/Logics often make decisions using logic and proof rather than emotion. They tend to have proficient problem-solving skills and see the relationships and patterns when working with numbers. Math/Logic learners frequently understand cause-and-effect relationships and learn through information analysis. It is common for Math/Logic learners to prefer the use of outlines, bullet points, and logical sequences to communicate.
Spatials may love designing and creating. They often express their thoughts and ideas through pictures, graphs and charts. Spatial learners tend to solve problems through the use of images or using mental concept maps. Spatial learners regularly see how all the parts fit together to produce results, and use mind mapping, graphic organizers, and visualizations to create models.
Bodily/Kinesthetics are frequently adept at skills that demand applied learning. They have a tendency to solve problems and interpret and decipher information through action. They often learn by doing and demonstrating a defined process (demonstrating the process cements the knowledge). They usually prefer hands-on activities, as well as developing other’s ideas into finished products.
Musicals generally enjoy following a step-by-step process when working or problem solving. They may use defined tasks and procedures and are oftentimes sensitive to rhythms, tonal patterns, cadence, and an orderly environment. They may have a natural inclincation to use repetition, movement, and timing in developing a thought pattern or response. They frequently rearrange processes to fit their internal rhythm, and focus on results following exact and specific instructions.
Interpersonals likely strive to be friends with as many people as possible. They have a tendency to solve problems by processing information through group discussion and interacting with others. They are often able to uplift a group and tend to welcome everyone’s ideas. They usually enjoy having people around them and work well with others in a team environment. They may be sympathetic to the needs of other people, and respond to the temperament of individuals.
Intrapersonals are frequently inclined to create their personal space and may be very aware of changes that affect their surroundings. They have a tendency to perceive emotional and intellectual stimuli and recall personal experiences (empathy) when relating to others. They regularly provide a wide perspective of possible ways to solve a problem before deciding on the best solution. They will likely continue to try to improve an idea or concept after others have considered the problem solved. They oftentimes enjoy developing ideas independently before sharing their work with others.

All individuals are motivated by a single or combination of the following motivations.

  • Fun
  • Purpose
  • Self
  • Reward
  • Recognition

There is a complex web of interaction between Motivations and Multiple Intelligences. To look at just one score is a generalization of how to communicate and motivate an individual. When motivation scores are used in combination with an individual’s dominant MI the results better define how that person communicates and is productive.

Since each person is unique, the challenge exists for educators and employers to understand how these intelligences and motivations can be translated into learning and productivity.