Multiple Intelligences, Intelligence Quotient, or Emotional Intelligence: which is most Valuable?

“An intelligence is the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings. (Gardner H. 1983)”

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Throughout history, people hold in high regard the importance of having a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Believing that if a person possesses a generally high IQ it would mean that this person will succeed in his/her life. Indeed evidence shows that many people who have high intelligence quotient succeeded in their respective fields, examples of these people are Bill Gates (160 IQ), Elon Musk (155 IQ), and Mark Zuckerberg (152 IQ); Albert Einstein is also predicted as having a superlative IQ but there is no way to be sure as IQ testing was still in its beginning stages in the early stages of the 1900s. Given these figures, it would be natural to think that intelligence quotient is the most valuable thing that a person should possess, but this is not the case. Studies in psychology suggest that having a high intelligence quotient is not the sole factor in determining that a person will succeed in life. Back in 1990, Psychologists John Mayer and Peter Salovey theorized that there is another unitary intelligence that is key to the success of a person, they coined the term emotional intelligence (EQ/EI).

Intelligence quotient and Emotional intelligence are now two of the most prevalent topics that are talked about in the field of psychology and education, finding which is more valuable between the two is indeed a hard challenge, and to add more challenge with this question is the fact that there is also another theory of intelligence that was proposed in 1983 by Howard Gardner, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In this paper, I shall argue that finding the right balance between intelligence quotient, emotional intelligence, and multiple intelligence are of utmost importance in order for a person to succeed in life. I shall also argue that there is no “most valuable” intelligence between the three and that finding the ability to utilize all three of these concepts is the more valuable thing to do in life rather than finding which is most valuable. I will present my arguments by first giving a thorough explanation of each concept before explaining the correlation between the three theories. At the end of the paper, I shall be able to provide a theory that utilizes the use of these three concepts in a classroom setting.

Thesis Statement

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Back in 2016, an 11-year-old girl named Kashmea Wahi from London, England scored a score of 162 in her IQ test, it is the highest score in the test which means that she got a perfect score (Stevens A., 2016)[JAD1] . It is later revealed that Wahi is the youngest person to ever get a perfect score from the particular test. Does her having a particularly high score from the IQ test signify that she will be successful in life? Non experts in psychology will argue that she is off to do great things in life, experts will argue that this may not be the case at all.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a measure or test of a person’s ability to use reasoning in answering questions or solving problems. It gauges how a person can use information and logic well. IQ tests are typically designed to assess a person’s short-term and long-term memory skills, it also measures how well people can solve puzzles and retain the memories that they’ve heard or saw, as well as how quickly can they recall it (Stevens A., 2016). IQ is the conscious intellectual capability or in other words it is the aptitude of a person that enables him to think, understand and analyze the logical and speculative problems. It’s an assessment of mental capability through which individuals of same age group can be compared with one another (Gondal U. & Husain T., 2013). IQ tests are also good signifiers of cognitive skills such as mathematical abilities and logical reasoning. (Nield, D., 2016). [JAD2]

IQ tests were originally designed to identify students that are in need of extra academic help in France. As time passes by, the intentions for the test were changed and it was used by the US government to identify individuals with higher intelligence than the average. Until now, IQ tests are used by the Armed Forces of United States to determine qualified candidates.

IQ tests are designed depending on what purpose it should serve, it can differ from specific age groups or designed for people with particular disabilities. Additionally, IQ tests are commonly divided into two categories: the fluid and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence refers to the capacity to solve and think logically about novel problems, it is independent of the acquired knowledge, it is measured by a non-verbal test that requires abstract reasoning (Checa P. & Fernandez-Berrocal P., 2015). While crystallized intelligence depends on experience and knowledge and it could be defined as the ability to use these factors (Checa P. & Fernandez-Berrocal P., 2015). [JAD3] Basically, fluid intelligence measures the person’s ability to use logic and reason to solve a problem while crystallized reasoning is used to measure what a person knows about the world and culture that he is in.

Indeed, intelligence quotient shows a lot of potential in determining a person’s capability to success in life, but it is not the only factor that should be looked into. IQ tests served us well for over a century now but one problem that surfaces from relying solely in IQ tests is the fact that it favors people who can think on the spot, we all know that not all people are capable of this ability. This is where psychologists John Mayer and Peter Salovey will enter the picture, they theorized a unitary intelligence that underlay different skill sets that doesn’t relay much on the use of logic and reasoning unlike the intelligence quotient, they are the pioneer of the term emotional intelligence and broke it down into four branches. Although they are the pioneer of this theory, a science reporter from the New York Times, psychologist and journalist; Daniel Goleman, is the one who introduced the elements of emotional intelligence into a larger segment of the society which paved the way in incorporating not only the intellectual prowess of a person (IQ) but also their ability to identify their emotions and other people’s emotion as well.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability of a person to manage and understand their emotion as well as the people around them. It is the ability to recognize and regulate the emotions in one own self and others and to make use of this information in order to guide one’s thinking and actions (Giardini and Frese, 2006; Mayer et al., 2008). It is said that people having a high emotional intelligence is able to identify what they feel, what it means, and how it affects the people around them.

Goleman further developed his idea of emotional intelligence by incorporating five essential elements into it: (1) Emotional self-awareness, (2) Self-regulation, (3) Motivation, (4) Empathy, and (5) Social Skills. These five skills are now often used in businesses and education.

Having a high degree of EQ in business means that you are a good leader to your colleagues, you are able to evaluate your own emotions which makes you a controlled and decisive leader, it is also beneficial to a business if its leader is able to recognize the needs of their employees by looking out in how they react and act while at work. It is believed that to be effective in being a leader, one must master the elements of emotional intelligence to better understand their emotions and how it affects the people they are working with. Emotional intelligence adds to work performance by allowing people to foster positive relations, perform well in groups and build social assets. Counselling reinforcement, ability and capability of other people often influence the employee’s performance (Seibert et al., 2001).

Emotional intelligence is also being utilized in different educational institutions. According to Goleman, prevalent school issues such as bullying, drug abuse, and violence are being reduced if a school is exhibiting a high importance in developing emotional intelligence. In fact, in 2002, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched an international campaign to further promote the use of emotional learning inside classrooms. They sent out the principles of emotional intelligence to different education ministries throughout the world which was heavily drew upon from the elements that Goleman presented.

Additionally, a comparative study revealed that emotional intelligence is indeed a key determinant of employees’ effective performance and it is considered more important than intelligence quotient at workplace (Gondal U. & Husain T., 2013). This reinforces my argument that intelligence quotient is not enough to predict a person’s success in life. But as I said earlier, utilizing intelligence quotient and emotional intelligence is not enough, this is where I introduce a rather famous theory of intelligence, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner.

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences was first outlined by Howard Gardner in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He proposed that people have different kinds of “intelligences” and claimed that there are eight intelligences and has also suggested that there could be a possible ninth addition. It should be noted that during this time, emotional intelligence is still yet to be theorized by Mayer and Salovey. Although there may be cases that a person is particularly strong in a specific area, he or she may still possess a range of other abilities. Although this theory of Gardner is met with a lot of opposition from both educators and psychologists saying that his theory is too broad, and that his so-called eight intelligences simply represents traits, abilities, or talent of a person. Even though this is the case, the theory is still popular and is being utilized by teachers worldwide.

The first intelligence that Gardner proposed is the Visual-Spatial intelligence, these are individuals that are good with directions as well as maps, charts, videos, and pictures. The second intelligence is the Linguistic-Verbal intelligence, these are people who are able to use words well in writing and speaking, they are typically very good in memorization, writing stories, and reading. The third is the Logical-Mathematical intelligence, they are good at reasoning, recognizing patterns, and logically analyzing problems. Fourth kind is the Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, they are said to be good at using their body for movement and performing actions.

The fifth type is the Musical Intelligence, these are people who are good in patterns, rhythms, sounds, and has strong inclination for music and good at musical composition and performance. Sixth is the Interpersonal intelligence, these are people who are good at understanding and interacting with other people. There are also people that have Intrapersonal intelligence, they are good at being aware of their own emotional states, feelings, and motivations. The eight intelligence which was met with a rather high opposition, the Naturalistic intelligence, these are people who are more inclined with nature and often interested in exploring the environment. It was mentioned earlier that there is a ninth proposed addition, the existentialist intelligence, these are people who have the ability to use intuition, thought and meta-cognition to ask and answer deep questions about human existence. 

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Multiple Intelligences, Intelligence Quotient, or Emotional Intelligence: Which is most valuable?. (2022, Jan 31). Retrieved October 3, 2022 , from
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