One of the smartest people I know can’t spell worth beans (or, benes as I am pretty sure she would write) and has a particular way of pronouncing foreign-based words (sorbet is soibert; café au lait is coffee oh loddy). Meanwhile, my friend who can speak five languages is entirely flummoxed when it comes time to calculate the tip for a waiter.
So what’s going on with these two brainiacs—am I, simply, surrounded by idiot savants? Not according to Dr. Howard Gardener who developed the theory of multiple intelligences, going beyond the IQ test to discover the many ways humans are smart. He identified intelligent abilities including language, music, spatial reference, kinesthesia, naturalistic, and possibly existential intelligence. Gardner’s definitions include ways to improve your weaker areas—strengthening your brain. Learning—even about learning—reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s says the American Academy of Neurology.
These are Gardner’s nine types of intelligence, as described in A Better Brain at Any Age (Conari, 2009) by Sondra Kornblatt.:
1. Linguistic intelligence reflects the ability to read, write, tell stories, and learn languages, grammar, and syntax. Strengthen this ability by studying a new language, improving vocabulary, and writing.
2. Your friendly computer programmer has logical-mathematical intelligence. She’s comfortable with numbers, logic, reasoning, and abstractions. To increase logical ability, get a book of logic games, knit a sweater, and learn computer programming. Or watch a movie on video, and stop it to predict what will happen.