Howard Gardner proposed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and defined 9 intelligence types, which I wrote about here. When he was defining each type of intelligence he specified seven criteria for a behavior to meet in order for it to be considered a form of intelligence and be a part of his theory. The criteria are as follows:

  1. A potential for brain isolation by brain damage
  2. A place in evolutionary history
  3. The presence of core operations
  4. Susceptibility to encoding (symbolic expression)
  5. A distinct developmental progression
  6. The existence of savants, prodigies, and other exceptional people
  7. Support from experimental psychology and psychometric findings

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Each of his 9 intelligence types (Visual/Spatial, Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Musical, Naturalistic, and Existential) meet these requirements. I believe that two additional intelligence types can be added to this theory thereby creating two new types of intelligence.

Of course, one could separate the divided intelligence types, (Visual/Spatial, Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, and Bodily/Kinesthetic) into two separate intelligence types and have thirteen types of intelligence rather than 9, but that would not be adding any new types of intelligence.

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First Addition

I can think of two potential additions. The first one is Social/Cultural Intelligence, which describes “street smarts” and how to behave in different cultures throughout the world. Although this is not an intelligence type specifically discussed by Gardner, one might argue that it is very closely related to the interpersonal intelligence type. Interpersonal people are extroverted and have good relations with those around them. They are able to effectively interact with others and may indeed have good street smarts.

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However, the cultural aspect is a new development that goes beyond simply being street smart. Nowadays, people need to know how to act in their own culture and in the other cultures around them. This is important because if you offend the wrong culture or do something that you are unaware of you may accidentally commit yourself to something that you would rather not be committed. Therefore, being aware of the cultures around your living environment and understanding how they think and behave is another form of intelligence all on its own.

There is a good chance that in 1983, when Gardner invented the 9 types of intelligence, world traveling was not what it is today. In addition, there were significantly less foreign populations living in other countries. Some people say that the existential intelligence type includes culture due to its tendency to examine everything as a whole. However, I find that to be a weak argument because culture is such a vast topic on its own that it cannot possibly be combined into a pre-existing form of intelligence. Therefore, Social/Cultural intelligence would be a great addition to the multiple intelligence types.

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Second Addition

The second addition that I believe is valid is Religious Intelligence. Gardner mentioned this but shied away from it due to the sensitive nature of religion. Again, consider the time in which he was proposing his theories. In the 1980’s religion was not as widely accepted and diverse as it is today. Therefore, he said that he did not want to create a theologically based intelligence type due to the fact that religion is such a sensitive and personal subject. He also explained that existential intelligence could include religion because of its thinking nature.

This is a little more acceptable than it including culture because culture is such a vast and constantly changing area. Still, in today’s world, the addition of religious intelligence would most likely be accepted and encouraged as many people are beginning to study and examine other religions. Theological beliefs around the world are now being seen as interesting and fascinating rather than wrong. Sure, not everyone may agree with them. However, they are all seeking to understand why other people believe what they believe. Thus, Religious Intelligence would also be a good addition to the multiple intelligence types.

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In all reality creating two additional intelligence types will most likely never happen. However, based on the progression of the world and how things have changed since the early 1980’s it seems that the addition of these intelligence types would make sense. Of course, this is simply a brief argument for the two additional intelligence types and there are many more points that could be made. However, this is satisfactory for the time being. Feel free to add your comments below to weigh in on this topic.

For more great information take a look at the supplemental content on this website and check out these great blog posts. In addition, feel free to connect with me on social media.

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