Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is based on studies not only of normal children and adults but also by studies of gifted individuals (including so-called "savants"), of persons who have suffered brain damage, of experts and virtuosos, and of individuals from diverse cultures. This led Gardner to break intelligence down into at least a number of different components. In the first edition of his book "Frames of Mind" (1983), he described seven distinct types of intelligence - logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. In a second edition of this book, he added two more types of intelligence - naturalist and existential intelligences. He argues that psychometric tests address only linguistic and logical plus some aspects of spatial intelligence.

A major criticism of Gardner's theory is that it has never been tested, or subjected to peer review, by Gardner or anyone else, and indeed that it is unfalsifiable.

 Others (e.g. Locke, 2005) have suggested that recognizing many specific forms of intelligence (specific aptitude theory) implies a political—rather than scientific—agenda, intended to appreciate the uniqueness in all individuals, rather than recognizing potentially true and meaningful differences in individual capacities. Schmidt and Hunter (2004) suggest that the predictive validity of specific aptitudes over and above that of general mental ability, or "g", has not received empirical support.
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