Wednesday, October 19, 2011

IQ and multiple intelligences

This is a very interesting debate between psychologists, can intelligence be narrowed down to just one number or do we have multiple intelligences. Gardner, H. in 1983 proposed that we have multiple intelligences which was a very different idea than what had been practiced up to that point. During the 20th century an individuals IQ was measured and was referred to as "g". However, during the 1970s and 1980s researchers began to question this idea that "g" was all there was to intelligence and in fact it is still highly debated today.

In Gardner's theory intelligence is not based off of one thing but several different areas can be looked at which would have a different intelligence. Further, he explains that different parts of the brain are responsible for different aspects of intelligence. Gardner came up with eight intelligences:
1) Linguistics:  Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Woody Allen
2) Musical:  Mozart, Lauryn Hill, Andrea Boccelli, Paul McCartney
3) Logical-Mathmatical: Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Marie Curie, B.F. Skinner
4) Spatial: Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Leonardo DaVinci, Van Gogh
5) Bodily-kinesthetic: Charlie Chaplin, LeBron James, Serena and Venus Williams
6) Interpersonal: Ghandi, Abraham Maslow, Oprah Winfrey
7) Intrapersonal: Plato, Hermann Rorschach, Helen Keller, Bill Gates
8) Naturalist: Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Rachel Carson

The idea is that we may be low in one intelligence while another may shine out. Also we may have several areas that shine out.

Whether or not the theory is true or if it is just redundant is besides the point. The fact is that when we are creating our characters we need to look at their particular strengths and WEAKNESSES. Often we forget that Heroes shine in certain areas but they also always have a weakness. Superman and Kryptonite is a off the head example. Maybe we create someone who is extremely athletic but is not very good at being introspective. Or a person who is a genius who needs support because he/she can barely move (i.e. Raistlan and Carman in Dragonlance series). As authors we need to make the MC as believable as possible so that our readers will attach to them. Often I forget about the weakness that my MC has because I want her/him to have none because I want them to be perfect but, I can't do that :)

What weaknesses and strengths do your MC's have?


  1. Spacial and linguistic. Sans doute!

  2. The MC of my current novel is strong when it comes to naturalist intelligence, but weak in interpersonal.

  3. I try to play up different strengths and weaknesses for each of my characters. A good character sketch is very valuable.

  4. i think strength theory is def important as it plays into who our heroes surround themselves with as well...people that compensate for the weeknesses or those that accentuate the strengths

  5. Our weaknesses define us. I remember a panel I attended at a conference where a speaker, I want to say Tracy Hickman, was talking about giving characters weaknesses. He does a lot of the D&D things and his particular character had a mortal fear of rope. Now most of the time this weakness wasn't a problem, until they were in a cave and had to rappel down to another level. I like the idea of giving our characters more unusual fears or weaknesses. I am currently trying to write a novel where one of the POV characters is mute. That was interesting to write.

  6. This is an area I hadn't considered in developing characters. Thanks! I think sometimes people have combinations of the different types- like DaVinci was spatial and logical-mathematical. He used to get bored with some of his paintings and hand them off to apprentices, then head out to figure out helicopters or underwater devices : ) I would imagine him to come across like an absent minded professor spending more time in his head than socializing.

  7. Oh there's a funny story about DaVinci. He handed off a painting to an apprentice once, and liked what the apprentice did, so he took it back to finish it : ) Not real sensitive to the feelings of others haha. But he's still one of my heroes.

  8. I agree, an MC needs to have those weaknesses so we can relate to them. Nice info!

  9. Awesome points. Now I'm interested to see what my characters say when I try to psychoanalyze them. This should be fun.


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