"A bad person cannot be good professionally": Howard Gardner

In 1983 Howard Gardner proposed in one of his books the Theory of Multiple Intelligences , in which the cognitive capacity that people have is not seen as something cellular that welcomes different specific capacities, but as a set of different and semi-autonomous intelligences. . Gardner, with this theory, maintains that there is no unique ability, but that each person has at least eight cognitive mental abilities that form it.

This American psychologist, professor at Harvard University, was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Social Sciences in 2011 for his research and findings related to the analysis of the cognitive capacities of human beings.


capacidades cognitivas


For Gardner, cognitive ability is a skill that can be trained and therefore improved. When he talks about intelligence, he does not refer only to IQ, but to the ability we have as people to solve problems and create products within our own cultural context. It does not deny that there is a genetic component, but it does deny that said component may or may not be enhanced by other factors such as life experiences, context, education, etc., which could lead us to think that a so-called “bad person” (who she would probably have accumulated many bad experiences throughout her life) she would have a more difficult time becoming a very intelligent person and capable of improving herself, both personally and professionally.

This researcher, to arrive at the conclusion of each type of intelligence, studied the development of the abilities that the children possessed, together with their ability to perceive and solve problems. This study allowed him to establish the way in which the different capacities of people were divided.



What is intelligence really?

Most people believe that intelligence is static: either you are smart or you are not. But it turns out that intelligence is like a muscle that can be developed with use . Also, if you believe that to be true, you may have a better chance that your intelligence will continue to increase, as you will not stop fighting and fighting for it.

But intelligence is also often compared to scores on IQ tests in a more unfair way, with most academics believing that IQ tests only assess part of a person’s intelligence and not all of it. And it is that, traditional IQ tests basically measure the retention of verbal and mathematical knowledge of the child, which unfortunately reflects a very limited dimension that finally equates with the intellectual potential of children.

Far from categorizing people as good or bad, following Gardner’s reflections and focusing on childhood, the reality is that students who believe they can “be smarter” by challenging themselves become more effective learners . On the contrary, those students who have a more conventional vision, whether intelligent or not (known as a “fixed” vision of intelligence), tend to feel uncomfortable or end up thinking that they are not intelligent by making mistakes due to an excessive lack of knowledge. confidence and self-esteem, capable of potentially reducing your chances of continuing to learn new things effectively.

We are all on a learning curve and we will have failures on the way to success, but instead of being frustrated by setbacks, people with a growth mindset are resilient , that is, they are able to use “failures” as opportunities. new learning. Rather than worrying about whether they are “smart” enough, these kids know they can be even smarter just by working at it.


mentalidad crecimiento


These children are able to manage their anxiety more effectively, since they do not block themselves with the idea that although it is complex the process is impossible for them. In this way, they become perpetual learners who can learn what they need in new situations and who are able to find the key motivation to continue learning more. A good way to achieve the latter is through play.

When young children play they are motivated to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. That helps them develop a growth mindset and the ability to better manage themselves to overcome challenges. They learn that such challenges can be fun, rather than intimidating, and that hard work combined with a good attitude can help them achieve great goals , which extrapolated to the adult world would lead us to Gardner’s conclusion that “bad people” they can never become great professionals.



Know the types of intelligence of Howard Gardner


  • Musical intelligence. It is that capacity that allows us to produce and differentiate between different timbres, tones, sounds and rhythms. We can develop it by working with sounds and with different musical instruments. It is the talent that good singers, musicians and dancers possess.
  • Linguistic intelligence . This type of linguistic-verbal intelligence activates both hemispheres and allows the development of the necessary ability to use both written and oral language with precision and accuracy at its different levels. This ability is fostered through listening, debating, reading, or word games. It is the one that characterizes writers, journalists and philologists.
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence. People with this type of intelligence make use of the brain’s logical hemisphere and are talented in the exact sciences such as mathematics and physics. We refer, fundamentally, to the ability to solve logical problems and numerical patterns.


inteligencia matemática


  • Spatial intelligence . This is what allows us to make a mental model of the three-dimensional world, that is, it allows us to develop the ability to perceive and understand the visual environment and space. It is more enhanced in professionals in areas such as engineering, surgery, architecture, design and decoration.
  • Naturalistic intelligence . It is one that is activated when we observe, analyze and reflect on nature. It enables us to understand it and take care of it, and fostering it is essential for the survival of the planet. Biologists and other specialists in natural subjects are the ones who have it the most.
  • Body-kinesthetic intelligence . It consists of the ability to use and control the body to solve problems or to carry out activities. We promote its potential by moving, touching and processing information through the senses, bodily sensations and communicating with body language. It is powered by athletes, dancers, etc.
  • Interpersonal intelligence . It is what allows us to understand others and create a clear image of ourselves, our feelings … understand our needs, qualities and defects. We can stimulate it through diaries, personal reflections and individual activities. It is based on our ability to manage human social relationships, empathy with others and recognize their motivations, reasons and emotions that characterize them.


These last two types of intelligences form the so-called emotional intelligence, which is what allows us to live our life in balance, in a healthy and satisfactory way.

In short, facilitating and enhancing the growth mentality in the little ones and stimulating their curiosity and natural interests is very important, since it allows them to learn that their own determination will often depend on the future and success . It is this mindset that enables people to achieve that professional success that Gardner talks about and, most importantly, to achieve personal success as well.

At the beginning you publish: “… but each person has at least eight cognitive mental abilities that form it,” but only seven have been published, it seems that intrapersonal intelligence was omitted.

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