The standard psychological view of intellect states that there is a single intelligence, adequately measured by IQ or other short answer tests. Multiple intelligences (MI) theory, on the other hand, claims on the basis of evidence from multiple sources that human beings have a number of relatively discrete intellectual capacities. Components of multiple intelligences theory include: 
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Naturalist
  • Spatial
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Linguistic
  • Musical
In comparing MI to traditional psychological view of intelligence, one might find it useful to think of them analogously as if they were computers. Belief in a single intelligence implies that humans possess a single general purpose computer, which can perform well (high IQ), average (normal IQ), or poorly (low IQ). Belief in MI theory implies that human beings possess several relatively independent computers where strength in one computer does not predict strength (or weakness) in the other computers. Put concretely, one might have high (or low) spatial intelligence, but that does not predict whether one will have high (or low) musical or interpersonal intelligence.
This theory was originally put forth in Howard Gardner’s landmark 1983 book Frames of Mind and has been put to use in the ensuing years in classrooms all over the world.