What is the kinaesthetic intelligence of the body

Kinesthetic body intelligence, what it is and how it is expressed

From the precise work of a surgeon who saves lives to the graceful and sinuous movement of a dancer who performs the mastery of the subtle gestures that make an actor's actions plausible, practicing any of these professions requires a great deal of skill.

Most people might think that we are talking about physical performance, but the truth is that there is much more to it: coordinating, processing and expressing information, and control over the body and what it produces. What all these individuals manifest is just one form of intelligence that Gardner already valued in his theory of multiple intelligence: Body intelligence or kinesthetics.

  • Related article: "Theories of Human Intelligence"

Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Kinesthetic or kinesthetic body intelligence is one of the eight basic types of intelligence suggested by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences. In order to facilitate understanding of this concept, it is primarily useful to assess what this theory envisages.

The theory of multiple intelligences is based on the idea put forward by Howard Gardner and various Harvard University staff that the type of knowledge valued in the educational and academic fields usually does not provide enough information regarding intellectual ability or intelligence understood as Capacity or set of skills that enable problem analysis and solution as well the correct adaptation to the environment.

The author envisioned that precisely the majority of intelligence tests, one's own concept of the Intellectual Quotient and its notions as a unique ability were centered on the verbal and logical thing (the same type of information that is mainly valued at the academic level). She concluded that, although not previously considered as such, there are other skills that go beyond the verbal and logical essentials for adaptation and "intelligent" behavior in the middle.

Gardner developed a theory in which he suggested that success, achievement, and even intellectual and adaptive skills do not depend on logical-verbal ability, but on a set of skills more or less common to all people, the previous were just one of them. He also relied on knowledge of ingenious cases and extraordinary skills between subjects with little skill when it comes to verbal thinking. In summary, Gardner suggested that there are different types of intelligence.

The theory of multiple intelligences suggests deriving a total of eight intelligences from the research Gardner himself conducted (although the theory does not come close to the possibility that there are more). They are logical-mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, naturalistic intelligence and finally the intelligence that produces the present article: physical-kinesthetic intelligence.

  • You may be interested in: "Howard Gardner: Biography of the American Psychologist"

Body intelligence: what is it?

It gets the name of physical intelligence cognitive skills that enable the mind to coordinate with the rest of the body This enables fluid and precise control. Thanks to this, we are able to manage our strength, balance, speed, coordination or precision as a kind of intelligence that enables automation and learning skills. Of course, it's also related to fine and gross motor skills.

The use of this type of intelligence is very diverse and allows for correct adaptation to the environment and the achievement of goals and objectives. We mainly use this type of intelligence when dealing with instruments and tools, whether simple or complex or with high precision, and it is also built into the intelligence of the body the ability to express emotionally through movement of the body.

This last aspect has important implications in another sense as well, 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 handle the body also means improving thinking on the level of self-knowledge and self-regulation.

These considerations of physical intelligence make this type of intelligence to be considered specially developed for jobs that require high precision or physical performance, such as acting, dance, painting, handicrafts or surgery.

  • Related article: "The 8 Superior Psychological Processes"

A small estimated intellectual capacity

The intelligence of the body is a valuable skill that is fundamental to human development and even its development (the use of instruments and tools was fundamental to being able to hunt and survive in prehistory, and how we evolved it , it was also increasingly necessary to control our social interactions and the advancement of technology).

Despite its great importance, this is an intelligence that is not very valued: it is enough to see how little time and neglect there is in education-level physical education, or the low social value most professions have. that they need it (apart from very successful professionals, most people who go into worlds like dance and drama are viewed as part of another world and even none at all, and professionals like artisans are rare and socially underestimated today). The exception would be in cases such as those related to medicine.

Perhaps it would be necessary to bring about a change in mentality and appreciate the body and the way we deal with it They are just as important as conventional knowledge'In everyday life we ​​not only know it, we also do it.


  • Gardner, H. (2003). Reformulated Intelligence: Multiple Intelligences in the 21st Century. Editorial contributions.