Modern I.Q. Theorists - Howard Gardner

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Picture of Howard Gardner, a modern I.Q. theorist


Howard Gardner

(July 11, 1943 - )

American Psychologist and Educator


  • Harvard University, 1965, A.B., and 1971, Ph.D.


  • Harvard University, Co-director of Project Zero (1973) and professor of education (1986)
  • Boston V.A. Hospital, research psychologist (1972)
  • Boston University School of Medicine, professor of medicine (1979) and of neurology (1984)

Major Contributions

  • Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Ideas & Interests

Howard Gardner, a leading developmental psychologist, was educated at Harvard University. Gardner has written many books on developmental psychology highlighting his work in the development of creativity in children and adults. Gardner is also highly recognized in relation to his work with artistic development. His interest in creativity began in the early 1970s when he studies the relationship of art and human development. His 1980 book, Artful Scribbles, examined the blossoming of creativity in young children and its decrease as they mature. Gardner concludes that toward the end of early childhood, young children rely on their newly developed linguistic skills and no longer need to communicate in nonverbal ways like drawing.

As an educational psychologist, Gardner is probably most highly recognized for his contribution in the area of intellectual development with his theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI). Gardner's research revolved around his desire to get away from tests and correlations among tests and look instead at more naturalistic sources of information about how people around the world develop skills important to their way of life.

In the publication of Gardner's 1983 book, Frames of Mind, was an awakening call for many educators. In this influential book, Gardner explores

. . . the multifarious nature of human intelligence [and] posits that humans have a family of seven intelligences that can be divided into three main groups: object-related intelligence, which includes mathematics and logic; object-free intelligence, including music and language; and personal intelligence, or the psychological perception we have of ourselves and others. The problems, as Gardner points out, is that our education system is not prepared to address the needs of all the intelligences, thus neglecting to address the development of some of these areas. (Dear, p. 173)

In contrast to Binet and his initial findings in the field of intelligence, Gardner fought to prove that intelligence, on one unitary level, was not an adequate measure of a person's intellectual abilities. Gardner claimed that his MI Theory illuminated the fact that humans exist in a multitude of contexts and that these contexts both call for and nourish different arrays and assemblies of intelligence.

Gardner again made use of his theory of multiple intelligences in The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach. In this 1991 book, he discusses "different learning styles and calls for doing away with our 'fast food-food approach to education' to accommodate all children, not just those who find it easy to learn in traditional ways" (Dear, p. 173).


  • The Arts and Human Development (1973)
  • Art, Mind, and Brain: A Cognitive Approach to Creativity (1982)
  • Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence (1983)
  • The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach (1991)
  • Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice (1993)
  • Changing the World: A Framework for the Study of Creativity(1994)
  • Who Owns Intelligence? (1999)
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