Frames of Mind - Summary and Key Ideas

'Frames of Mind' presents the argument for multiple relatively autonomous human intelligences, the 'frames of mind' of the title. Gardner draws on psychological research, biological sciences and insights from different cultures to support his theory. These different intelligences can be developed and combined in various ways by individuals and cultures, making them a powerful tool for understanding human cognition.

This book is aimed at psychologists, cognition scientists, educators, and policy-makers interested in a broader understanding of intelligence. It's also useful for those interested in pedagogical techniques and individual learning styles.

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Frames of Mind

Key ideas


The book advances the theory of multiple intelligences, challenging traditional IQ-focused understanding.


The evolution of intelligence understanding progresses amidst persistent theoretical limitations.

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Understanding human intellect requires exploring brain's architecture, genetic influences and environmental factors.

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Multiple intelligences theory proposes diverse, culturally-valued intellectual competences.

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Language symbolizes human intelligence, enabling communication, expression, and cultural diversity.

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Music, a universal human ability, combines cognition, communication, and enjoyment.

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Logical-mathematical intelligence evolves from infancy, guided by innate skills and cultural factors.

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Spatial intelligence enhances visualization, imagination, and comprehension of the visual world.

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Marcel Marceau demonstrates bodily-kinesthetic intelligence through skilled, expressive pantomime.

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Personal intelligences reflect cultural synthesis of individual feelings and social pressures.

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The theory of multiple intelligences proposes diverse cognitive skills beyond general intelligence.

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Symbols bridge biological structures and cultural abilities in human cognition.

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Summary & Review

"Frames of Mind" by Howard Gardner introduces the groundbreaking concept of multiple intelligences. He argues that human intellect cannot be understood through the traditional notion of a single general intelligence. Instead, Gardner proposes the idea of multiple intelligences -- independent intellectual capacities people can possess. Through evidence from several fields of scientific study, he reaffirms the existence of these distinct forms of intelligence. They are, in his opinion, integral to how individuals perceive and interact with the world around them. While the primary focus of his work is academic, revealing critical insights for educators and policy makers, it also has profound practical implications for anyone seeking to understand and foster their innate intellectual potentials.

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is a developmental psychologist who has widely studied the development of symbolic skills in normal and gifted children, as well as the impairment of such skills in brain-damaged adults. He has worked extensively in the cognitive and behavioral sciences. His work expands beyond the conventional scope of academia and has made a significant impact in the field of education.

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