The theory of multiple intelligences (MI) was set forth in 1983 by Howard Gardner. The theory holds that all individuals have several, relatively autonomous intelligences that they deploy in varying combinations to solve problems or create products that are valued in one or more cultures. Together, the intelligences underlie the range of adult roles found across cultures. MI thus diverges from theories entailing general intelligence, or g, which hold that a single mental capacity is central to all human problem-solving and that this capacity can be ascertained through psychometric assessment. This chapter presents the evidence and criteria used to develop MI, clarifies misconceptions about the theory, and examines critiques of the theory. It considers Einstein’s typology of scientific theories through which it is possible to understand MI as a “constructive theory.” It then examines issues of assessment entailing MI and educational applications of the theory.
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