Howard Gardner

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Howard Gardner
Howard Gardner, the early years.png
Born Howard Earl Gardner
(1943-07-11) July 11, 1943 (age 71)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Fields Psychology, education
Institutions Harvard University
Alma mater Harvard College
Known for theory of multiple intelligences
Influences Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Nelson Goodman[1]
Spouse Ellen Winner
Official website

Howard Earl Gardner (born July 11, 1943) is an American developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He is currently the Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero, and since 1995, he has been the co-director of the Good Project.

Gardner has written hundreds of research articles [2] and over twenty books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, as outlined in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983).


Early life[edit]

Howard Earl Gardner was born July 11, 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Ralph Gardner and Hilde (née Weilheimer) Gardner, German-Jewish immigrants who fled Germany prior to World War II. Gardner described himself as "a studious child who gained much pleasure from playing the piano".[3]


Gardner was inspired by his readings of Jean Piaget to be trained in developmental psychology. He studied neuropsychology with Norman Geschwind and psycholinguistics with Roger Brown. During his undergraduate years, Gardner worked with renowned psychoanalyst Erik Erikson.

In 1965, Gardner received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Relations from Harvard University. His undergraduate thesis was titled The retirement community in America.[4] From 1965 to 1966, he read philosophy and sociology at the London School of Economics. He was awarded a PhD degree in Social and Developmental Psychology from Harvard University in 1971[5] for his thesis titled The development of sensitivity to figural and stylistic aspects of paintings.[6] For his postdoctoral fellowship, Gardner worked alongside Geschwind at Boston Veterans Administration Hospital and continued his work there for another 20 years. [7]

He began teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1986. While he is widely traveled and conducted research in China throughout the 1980s, his entire adult career has been spent in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since 1995, the focus of his work has been on the Good Work Project, now known as the Good Project.

Gardner is currently a board member at Amherst College, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)], New York City and the American Philosophical Society (APS). He previously served on the board of the Spencer Foundation for 10 years (2001-2011).


According to Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, humans have several different ways of processing information and these ways are relatively independent of one another. The theory is a critique of the standard intelligence theory, which emphasizes the correlation among abilities. Since 1999, Gardner has identified eight intelligences: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Gardner is informally considering two additional intelligences, existential and pedagogical.[8][9]

In 1967, Professor Nelson Goodman started an educational program called Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education which began in the area of arts education but now spans a wide variety of educational arenas.[10] Howard Gardner and David Perkins were founding Research Assistants and Gardner and Perkins later Co-Directed Project Zero from 1972-2000. Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines at the individual and institutional levels.[11]

Good Project founders. From left: William Damon, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Gardner

For almost two decades, in collaboration with William Damon, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and several other colleagues, Gardner has been directing research on the nature of good work, good play, and good collaboration. The goal of his research is to determine what it means to achieve work that is at once excellent, engaging, and carried out in an ethical way. Going beyond research, with colleagues Lynn Barendsen, Wendy Fischman, and Carrie James, the Gardner team has developed Toolkits for use in educational and professional circles.[12]

Achievements and awards[edit]

Gardner was the recipient of a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981 and in 1990 he became the first American to receive the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education.[13] In 2000 he received a fellowship from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Four years later he was named an Honorary Professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai. In the years 2005 and 2008 he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the top 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. In 2011, he won the Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences for his development of multiple intelligences theory.[14]

He has received honorary degrees from twenty-nine colleges and universities, including institutions in Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, and South Korea.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Gardner is married to Ellen Winner. They have one child, Benjamin, born in 1985. Gardner has three children from an earlier marriage: Kerith (1969), Jay (1971) and Andrew (1976) and two grandchildren, Oscar, born in 2005, and Agnes, born in 2011.[3]


  1. ^ Winner, Ellen. "The History of Howard Gardner". 
  2. ^ {{Doorey, M. (2001). Gardner, Howard Earl. In B. Strickland (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 272-273). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from}}
  3. ^ a b "Howard Gardner Project Zero Biography". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "The retirement community in America". HOLLIS. Retrieved Nov 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Human Intelligence: Howard Gardner". Retrieved Nov 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ "The development of sensitivity to figural and stylistic aspects of paintings". HOLLIS. Retrieved Nov 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ {{Doorey, M. (2001). Gardner, Howard Earl. In B. Strickland (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 272-273). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from}}
  8. ^ "The Theory of Multiple Intelligences: As Psychology, As Education, As Social Science Howard Gardner". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Home - Mi Oasis". Mi Oasis. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Project Zero: History". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Harvard Project Zero". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  13. ^ "1990 - Howard Gardner". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Howard Gardner, 2011 Prince of Asturias Award fos Social Sciences - The Prince of Asturias Foundation". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  15. ^ "Howard Gardner". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kincheloe, Joe L., ed. (2004). Multiple Intelligences Reconsidered. Counterpoints v. 278. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-0-8204-7098-6. ISSN 1058-1634. 
  • Howard Gardner (2006). Schaler, Jeffrey A., ed. "A Blessing of Influences" in Howard Gardner Under Fire. Illinois: Open Court. ISBN 978-0-8126-9604-2. 
  • Howard Gardner (1989). To Open Minds: Chinese Clues to the Dilemma of American Education. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-08629-0. 
  • Howard Gardner, Vea Vecchi, Carla Rinaldi, Paola Cagliari (2011). Making learning visible. Italy: Reggio Children. ISBN 978-88-87960-67-9. 
  • M. Kornhaber (2001). Palmer, Joy, ed. "Howard Gardner" in Fifty Modern Thinkers in Education. New York: Routledge. ISBN 041522408X. 
  • Tom Butler-Bowdon (2007). "Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind" in 50 Psychology Classics. London & Boston: Nicholas Brealey. ISBN 978-1-85788-386-2. 
  • Gordon, L. M. (2006). Howard Gardner. "The encyclopedia of human development." Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2, 552-553.
  • Gardner, Howard (2011). Truth, beauty, and goodness reframed: Educating for the virtues in the 21st century. New York: Basic Books. 
  • Gardner, H. & Davis, K. (2013). The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300196214. 
  • Gardner, Howard. (2014). Mind, Work, and Life: A Festschrift on the Occasion of Howard Gardner's 70th Birthday. Create Space. ISBN 978-1499381702. 

External links[edit]