Kinesthetic Intelligence: Definition & Explanation

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  • 0:02 Kinesthetic Intelligence
  • 0:17 Theory of Multiple…
  • 2:02 What Is It?
  • 3:18 Examples
  • 3:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

What do Florence Griffith-Joyner, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Britney Spears all have in common? They all have bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. Learn more about bodily/kinesthetic intelligence from examples, and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Introduction to Kinesthetic Intelligence

Have you ever been told that you're good at sports? Maybe you enjoy hands-on activities and remember things better by doing them. Are you flexible, strong, and physically fit? If so, you have demonstrated bodily/kinesthetic intelligence.

Howard Gardner's Theory Of Multiple Intelligences

In 1983, developmental psychologist Howard Gardner proposed that there are seven different types of intelligences, one of which is bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. An eighth intelligence was added in 1999. Each one of the intelligences is independent from the others. The eight intelligences are:

  1. Musical intelligence: includes sensitivity to music, sounds, and rhythms
  2. Visual-spatial intelligence: includes awareness of your surrounding physical space and how to manipulate them
  3. Naturalistic intelligence: includes the awareness of elements found in nature, such as trees, flowers, and landscape
  4. Interpersonal intelligence: includes the capacity to understand and interact with those around you
  5. Intrapersonal intelligence: includes the capacity to understand your own feelings, motivations, goals, and values
  6. Logical/mathematical intelligence: includes the ability to look at things in a logical manner and to understand mathematical concepts
  7. Linguistic intelligence: includes an appreciation for language and the ability to use language to achieve your goals
  8. Bodily/kinesthetic intelligence: includes athleticism and an awareness of one's body

Since each of the intelligences is independent from the others, having a high level of one type of intelligence does not guarantee a high level of intelligence on the others. For example, an archaeologist can be skilled at finding and classifying fossils (a naturalistic intelligence), but may not have a good understanding of his own strengths, weaknesses, goals, and motivation for his chosen career choice (or intrapersonal intelligence).

What Is Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence?

Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and I. M. Pei are famous people who have high bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. In other words, they possess the ability to use their bodies effectively to solve problems or create something. People with bodily/kinesthetic intelligence are skilled at using their body to convey feelings and ideas. They have good hand-eye coordination and are very aware of their bodies. Their fine and gross motor skills are more advanced than the average person's. They also learn best by doing things and not by receiving verbal instruction or seeing them.

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