Exploring Women's Creativity

Multiple Intelligences and Creativity

learn how different forms of intelligence affect creativity


When we are involved in a creative endeavor we are probably not aware that our creativity rises from multiple forms of intelligence.

Our varied talents reflect these intelligences. Researcher Howard Gardner has proposed eight categories of intelligence that individuals have in varying combinations and degrees. This is far different from the traditional way of looking at intelligence as primarily one's verbal and mathematics ability.

Let's take a look at a circle of quilters gathered together to work and chat. You might be tempted to assume that they must have the same variety of intelligences as they all enjoy quilting. An evening observing this group would soon prove this theory to be false.

One woman has just come in with a bag full of scraps and is feeling overwhelmed about which ones to use. Another glances at them and quickly suggests a combination of fabric that reflects a balance of pattern and color.

Meanwhile another quilter is stumped on how to do a new procedure. Her friend across the table knows how but struggles to put the procedure into words. Luckily the woman next to her has a talent for explaining things simply and clearly.

There is a huge flannel wallboard where another woman is arranging her finished blocks, painstakingly planning exactly how she wants them arranged before she sews them together. She has spent the entire evening on this project and her friend teases her about such perfectionism. The first woman is loving this exercise in spatial relationships while the other really doesn't see the need for such a fuss.

All these women are highly talented and are using various forms of intelligence in their projects. But there are differences among them and that is what makes quilting together so rewarding as talents are pooled in a dynamic process.

You would find the same to be true with a writing group where one member is adept at writing poetry in form while another excels at using metaphor. One writer can paint a beautiful high mountain meadow simply using words. Another barely alludes to deep feelings of grief but the passage brings tears to the reader's eyes.

Any model is simply a rough description compared to how complicated and miraculous intelligence truly is but Gardner's "Eight Intelligences" model does help us visualize the concept. Following is a brief description of each type of intelligence.

1) Linguistic intelligence includes talent in using language and thinking symbolically.

2) Logical-mathematical intelligence involves the ability to think logically, recognize patterns and work with abstract concepts.

3) Musical intelligence gives the ability to distinguish sounds and create music.

4) Spatial intelligence deals with precise perception of things and the ability to recall visual patterns.

5) Bodily kinesthetic intelligence involves ability in physical movement as seen in both athletes and dancers.

6) Interpersonal intelligence is seen in a good teacher or salesman as they sense the needs and interests of others and use that knowledge to communicate.

7) Intrapersonal intelligence can be found in introspective people who prefer exploring inner landscapes. They are often highly intuitive and have a clear sense of self.

8) Naturalist intelligence is displayed by those who are talented at observing, understanding and organizing patterns especially those found in nature.

Have fun with these descriptions and think about which intelligences may be your strong points. It's good to know we don't have to be a verbal or math whiz to be an intelligent and talented person.

Multiple Intelligences Defined