For a long time, IQ tests were considered objective and the only method for measuring intellectual development. However, some researchers rejected this approach, which led to the occurrence of more complex theories. For example, Gardner and Sternberg proposed focusing on intellectual abilities which might be applicable outside of an academic context. The two researcher’s theories consider the same concept but in different forms.
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory challenges the idea of general intelligence measurement, which is about assessing cognitive ability exclusively. The theory’s central position is the concept of nine types of intelligence, which include linguistic, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal (Sigelman & Rider, 2018). Thus, Gardner suggests that people have different development levels for these types, which determines their inclinations and strengths. Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory was developed as an alternative approach to intellectual qualities measurement as well. However, Stenberg emphasized practical, creative, and analytical abilities responsible for various actions, which are not taken into account in the general assessment (as cited in Sigelman & Rider, 2018). Stenberg argued about the role of the environment, the person’s ability to analyze the situation and make decisions. Thus, both theories consider intelligence not from an academic, but a practical perspective.
From the Multiple Intelligences Theory perspective, I can consider various aspects of my intelligence. For example, I believe that spatial, musical, linguistic, and kinesthetic abilities in me are more developed than others. From the point of view of Stenberg’s theory, I can assess my ability to analyze the situation and make decisions. In my opinion, I am rather slow in examining the environment; nevertheless, having received information, I quickly find an inventive solution. The Triarchic Theory seems to be more useful for assessing intellectual ability. Since it offers a measurement of the ability to analyze a situation and make decisions, it explains my strengths and weaknesses in the best way.
Both theories have been proposed as an alternative to standard IQ tests, which only consider academic skills. Gardner and Stenberg emphasized the critical role of practical skills and creativity in achieving success. Both theorists also viewed intelligence as a unique set of cognitive abilities of an individual. However, Gardner included difficult-to-measure types in his theory (for instance, kinesthetic, musical, naturalistic), while Stenberg chose criteria that can be tested in traditional forms of tasks.
Sigelman, C., & Rider, E. (2018). Life-span human development. Cengage Learning.