Medicine & USMLE

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

  1. Theory of General Intelligence
  2. Fluid Intelligence
  3. Crystallized Intelligence
  4. Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  5. Triarchical Intelligence Theory
  6. Primary Mental Abilities


The Theory of Multiple Intelligences states that several different intelligences exist in each person. These different intelligences lead to independent, unrelated cognitive abilities.

Key Points

  • Theory of Multiple Intelligences
    • Many different types of intelligence
      • Howard Gardner's proposed intelligences included logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic, spatial-visual, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, naturalist, and existential intelligences
      • Sternberg proposed just three intelligences in his Triarchical Intelligence Theory
    • Intelligences are independent
      • Performance in one cognitive area does not predict performance in another 


Asperger Syndrome is a condition of selectively impaired emotional intelligence, where academic cognitive ability is usually not affected. Alternatively, selective language impairment specifically affects language skills, while mathematical, emotional, and other cognitive domains remain normal. In some cases, people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have impaired emotional and language skills, but may have outstanding aptitude (savant) in certain skills such as music. All of these examples may arise from multiple independent intelligences, in which some are selectively impaired while others are enhanced.