A concept that is part of Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
From the precise work of a surgeon saving lives to the graceful and sinuous movement of a dancer, passing through the mastery of the subtle gestures that give verisimilitude to the actions of an actor, the exercise of any of these professions requires a high degree of ability.
Most people might think that we are talking about physical capacity, but the truth is that there is much more: coordination, processing and expression of information and control of the body itself and what it produces. In fact, what all these individuals manifest is nothing but a form of intelligence, which Gardner already valued in his theory of multiple intelligences: bodily or kinesthetic intelligence.
Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences
Kinesthetic or kinesthetic bodily intelligence is one of the eight basic types of intelligence proposed by Howard Gardner in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In order to facilitate the understanding of this concept, it is convenient first of all to assess what this theory implies.
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences is based on the idea conceived by Howard Gardner and various collaborators from Harvard University of the fact that the type of knowledge valued in the educational and academic fields does not usually provide enough information regarding intellectual capacity or intelligence. , understood as the capacity or set of capacities that allow the analysis and solution of problems as well as the correct adaptation to the environment.
The author, visualizing that precisely most intelligence tests, the very concept of IQ and its conceptions as a unique ability focused on the verbal and logical (the same type of information that is valued mostly at the academic level), came to the conclusion that although until now they were not considered as such there are other capacities beyond the verbal and logical essential for adaptation and “intelligent” behavior in the environment.
Gardner developed a theory in which he proposed that success, performance and even intellectual and adaptive capacity depended not on logical-verbal capacity but on a set of skills common to all human beings, to a greater or lesser degree, among which previous ones were only one of them. It also relied on the knowledge of cases of genius and extraordinary abilities among subjects with little ability to reason verbally. In conclusion: Gardner proposed that there are different types of intelligence.
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences proposes, derived from the research carried out by Gardner himself, a total of eight intelligences (although the theory is not closed to the possibility that there are more). They are the logical-mathematical intelligence, the linguistic intelligence, the spatial intelligence, the musical intelligence, the interpersonal intelligence, the intrapersonal intelligence, the naturalistic intelligence and finally the intelligence that gives rise to this article: the corporal-kinesthetic intelligence.
Body intelligence: what is it?
The body intelligence is called the set of cognitive abilities that allow the mind to coordinate with the rest of the body, allowing a fluid and precise control of it. Thanks to it we are able to manage our strength, balance, speed, coordination or precision, being a type of intelligence that allows automation and learning skills. Obviously, it is also linked to both fine and gross motor skills.
The use of this type of intelligence is very varied and allows the correct adaptation to the environment and the achievement of goals and objectives. We mainly use this type of intelligence when handling instruments and tools, whether they are simple, complex or high-precision, and the capacity for emotional expression through body movement is also integrated within body intelligence .
This last aspect also has important implications in another sense, and that is that it derives from the fact that the psyche has a great influence on the body and the body on the psyche. In this way, knowing how to manage the body will also imply an improvement in the management of the mind at the level of self-knowledge and self-regulation.
These considerations about bodily intelligence is what makes it considered that this type of intelligence is especially developed in professions that require great precision or physical ability, such as acting, dance, painting, crafts or surgery.
An undervalued mental ability
Body intelligence is a capacity of great value, being in fact fundamental for the human being its development and even its evolution (the handling of instruments and tools has been basic to allow us to hunt and survive in prehistory, and as we have evolved it has been increasingly necessary in order to manage our social interactions and the progress of technology).
However, despite its great importance, it is an intelligence that is very little valued: just look at the little time and the little consideration that physical education has at an educational level, or the little social value that is given to most professions who need it (except for highly successful professionals, most people who enter worlds such as dance and acting are seen as part of a world apart and even ignored, and professionals such as artisans today are rare and socially little had consider). The exception would be in cases such as those related to medicine.
Perhaps it would be necessary to establish a change in mentality and begin to appreciate that our body and the way we handle it are just as important as conventional knowledge, because after all in our day to day we do not limit ourselves to knowing but also to do.
- Gardner, H. (2003). Reformulated intelligence: Multiple intelligences in the 21st century. Editorial Paidós.