Key Concepts

Modifications to the Original Multiple Intelligences Model

The Simplification of Terminology

In 1983, educator and cognitive psychologist Howard Gardner of Harvard University challenged the popular belief of intelligence being a single, mono-dimensional trait; he posited that IQ tests measured only a narrow band of the spectrum of human ability—that there was much more to intelligence than the tests were measuring. Gardner explained there was not only one way to be smart, but rather, many ways—eight in total. He labeled these abilities “Multiple Intelligences”, which are: Bodily, Interpersonal, Logical, Linguistic, Visual, Musical, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic.

Steven Rudolph has made some modifications to the Multiple Intelligences model for the sake of practicality. Some of the terms have been simplified to make them easier to remember and to refer to.

Original Term Modified Term
bodily-kinesthetic Bodily
musical-rhythmic Musical
verbal-linguistic Linguistic
logical-mathematical Logical

Non-inclusion of Existential Intelligence

Additional Intelligences have been suggested by Gardner and others, including Existential Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligences, and Emotional Intelligence, however, Gardner has indicated he did not feel these categories were fully supported by his original criteria for an intelligence.

Rudolph has followed Gardner's approach here; he categorizes spiritual and existential abilities under the trait of Intrapersonal Intelligence.

Style: The Use of Uppercase Letters

Rudolph also uses capital letters to refer to each of the Multiple Intelligences.

For example:

This is for stylistic reasons only as it accentuates their importance and makes them easier to identify in running text.

When referring to the category of intelligences, however, Rudolph has chosen to use the lower case.

For example:

  • It is important for a person to be aware of their different intelligences.

Additional Modifications

Rudolph has also split Bodily and Visual Intelligence into two for practical purposes.


Gardner, Howard (1999), Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, Basic Books, ISBN 978-0-465-02611-1