The MI Series: Intrapersonal

My series on Multiple Intelligence continues this week with one of the more “mysterious” and internal types of intelligence, which is Intrapersonal.

Last week’s post on interpersonal intelligence focused on how well we relate to others. As its name suggests, intrapersonal focuses on how we relate to ourselves and within.  According to Howard Gardner, intrapersonal intelligence refers to “accurately determining moods, feelings and other mental states in oneself” (Gardner, 1998). Included in his examples of those with high interpersonal intelligence is Mahatma Gandhi.

This is another area that is perceived to be difficult for those on the spectrum. I say “perceived” because in my professional experience many of the children and teens I have worked with tend to be able to express their own feelings and thoughts quite well when given the proper tools and channels to do so. There are a number of books, blogs, and videos where autistic intrapersonal skills are beautifully highlighted. Without the proper channels, however, it would be very difficult to identify and/or strengthen this.

When we read about mindfulness, meditation, and the process of being quiet observers of our own mind, know that these are all aspects of intrapersonal intelligence. We are able to identify our thoughts, feelings, emotional patterns, and mental blind spots so that we can function accordingly. Intrapersonal intelligence is very important for those who work to help others, particularly in “abstract” ways such as mental health and spirituality. We must be cognizant of our own thoughts, feelings, and reactions so that we are aware when we are projecting, reacting, or minimizing. Self-awareness is the key phrase for this intelligence.

self-awareness

Next week, I will go into one of my personal favorites: Naturalistic intelligence.

If you missed any of the previous posts (I linked Interpersonal above), here is my post on Visual/Spatial, and the introduction post to the entire series.

 

Additional Reading

Frames of Mind, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner. BasicBooks, 1983.

What is Intrapersonal Intelligence?  Nice little write-up on what it looks like and how to teach to those who are high in this category.

Thoughtco on Interpersonal Intelligence This article includes a list of some well-known people who demonstrate high levels of instrapersonal intelligence, and includes some class-based suggestions to improve it that can be done outside of a classroom as well. Hint: journaling is a good place to start.

Photo credit: positiveactionpdc.com

This. This is why SPARC exists.

This is why I do what I do, why I want my organization to be successful. Stories like this are the reason why. Your entire life can change when you identify your life purpose and passion.

20-Year-Old with Autism And His Mother Open Bakery to Employ Others On Spectrum

Here is the link to the bakery: No Label at The Table

 

To read my MI Series, which discusses theory of multiple intelligence and the different areas of intelligence, click here. Or, catch up on the first two blogs of the series, Spatial/Visual and Interpersonal.

The MI Series: Interpersonal

This is one of the less tangible areas of Multiple Intelligence, a theory presented by Howard Gardner that proposes eight areas of intelligence rather than just one. Last week, I introduced the Visual/Spatial area. This week, I will talk a bit about the Interpersonal area.

Per Gardner, Interpersonal refers to “accurately determining moods, feelings and other mental states…in others and using the information as a guide for behavior” (Gardner, Exploring Intelligence, p.22). In other words, Interpersonal refers to the ability to “read a room,” a person, or a situation and respond accordingly. This includes reading social cues from someone who is talking to you, recognizing when someone is upset, or knowing how to respond if someone starts to cry.

With autism, this is usually one of the main areas that many therapeutic approaches work on. A vast majority of human communication is non-verbal, and being unable to translate or decode those signals can put one at a substantial disadvantage in many areas of their lives (career, relationships, etc.).

Those who are high in Interpersonal intelligence work well in careers that involve communication and working with people regularly: therapists, social workers, politicians, and religious leaders all far into this domain. This is also one of the domains that can easily be carried over into other domains.

One of the more interesting aspects of the research I did for this post is how often the frontal lobe of the brain is mentioned. This area is seen as the “heart” of the Interpersonal domain, and if it is damaged or does not develop properly, it could lead to difficulties in the area of social skills. There have been many documented cases of individuals being social and personable people until a frontal lobe injury leads to a complete change in personality. This alone can lead to a lengthy discussion, especially when it comes to autism, but I think I’ll leave that for another day.

 

Additional Reading

Frames of Mind, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner. BasicBooks, 1983.

Teaching Students with high Interpersonal Intelligence This is a nice article on how teachers can foster Interpersonal Intelligence in students, particularly those who seem to already have a knack for it.

Interpersonal Intelligence/Social Skills: Wikipedia The autism factor is briefly explored in this entry

 

Photo from socialpronow.com

The MI Series: Visual/Spatial

We all know individuals in each of these areas, and for those of us who walk with autism in our lives everyday, we may have seen it a bit more.

Perhaps they can put together a difficult puzzle in minutes, are really good at the game Tetris or something similar, memorized the details of a room layout, or can diagram the inner workings of a robotic device. These all involve visual/spatial intelligence.

I was one of a few girls who scored high in this area in high school (remember the ASVAB test?). This was because I could visually see an object in my mind, in 3D. Granted, I couldn’t get overly detailed with it, but I could (and still can) twist and turn an image or object around in my mind to see it from various angles. This allowed me to answer questions about what the object would look like if turned a quarter turn, or upside down. So for my work, visual/spatial intelligence involves the ability to visualize a noun (person, place, thing) in three dimensions and adjust the visualization to see it in a new way.

If you’ve watched ABC’s The Good Doctor, then you’ve seen this type of intelligence in action when Dr. Murphy visualizes organs and nerve/blood pathways by turning them in his mind to “see” from all sides.

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According to Howard Gardner, spatial refers to “an ability to perceive the visual world accurately, transform and modify perceptions and re-create visual experiences even without physical stimuli” (Gardner, Human Intelligence, p.22).  He includes chess players, artists, and navigators in this group.

I have seen this intelligence in many of my clients, regardless of their age or background. The children can build towers and figure out escape options for their cribs, playpens, or restricted areas. The teens are incredibly good at games like Minecraft and the board game Blokus. A lot of my clients seem to be really good at Legos.

Of course, this is just one intelligence, and we all often have strengths in a few of them. Next week, I’ll look at one of the toughest areas for those on the autism spectrum: Interpersonal.

 

Additional Reading:

Frames of Mind, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner. BasicBooks, 1983.

Wikipedia: Spatial Intelligence (psychology)

Brain Metrix: Spatial Intelligence

ScienceDirect: Components of Spatial Intelligence (abstract only, full PDF can be purchased)

 

Photo Credit: Disney ABC Media

The MI Series

I will be starting a series this week covering the different types of multiple intelligence. This theory is the cornerstone of my business/thesis, and I thought it would be nice to explore the components of it a bit more to give better insight into what I do.

The Multiple Intelligence theory itself was developed by Howard Gardner in 1983. In his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, he mapped out eight different types of intelligence that went beyond the traditional viewpoint of IQ. There are a few others that have been suggested, explored, and/or dismissed, but these are the core eight:

  • Visual/Spatial
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Musical
  • Naturalistic
  • Logical/Mathematical
  • Verbal/Linguistic
  • Bodily/Kinesthetic

I will more than likely touch on the proposed/suggested intelligence types at the end, since they are quite interesting themselves.

The first intelligence that will be covered later this week is Visual-Spatial, which I have seen often with regards to my autistic clients.

 

The (good) trend continues…

It’s really great to see more and more places and communities welcoming autistic individuals in this way. I especially love the “quiet room” idea at the amusement park and handing out toys while waiting in line.

I think I may start a Soul Sunday feature where I post articles and videos like this to show that inclusion is being worked on and spread.

How amusement parks are welcoming children with autism