Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity


Intelligence is one aspect of normal daytime consciousness. There are multiple intelligences; a few examples: (1) rapid, vivid conceptualization; (2) spatial visualization of geometrical objects; (3) mathematical, logical, analytical reasoning; (4) facility with mental arithmetic; (5) facility with language; (6) poetic creativity; (7) musical creativity; (8) artistic creativity; (9) expansive memory; etc.

Multiple intelligences --  theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University.

Productivity and accomplishment is a function of perseverance as well as intelligence. People of ordinary intelligence who tenaciously persevere at tasks can often accomplish more than people of higher intelligence who may get bored and flit around aimlessly.

We are born with a well-wired brain and an incredible amount of knowledge derived from the genetic wiring of our brains. (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 176)


Neural processes underlying creativity have nothing to do with rationality. Creativity is not born out of reasoning. (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 170)

Much creativity is not conscious  (Koch; Quest for Consciousness, 299)


Linguistic intelligence

Language is a preeminent instance of human intelligence. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 79)

Syntax and phonology lie close to the core of linguistic intelligence, while semantics and pragmatics include inputs from other intelligences (such as logical-mathematical and personal intelligences). (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 81)

Poetry is linguistic intelligence exemplified. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 73)

Poet must have a keen sensitivity to phonology: the sounds of words and their musical interactions upon one another. Mastery of syntax, the rules governing the ordering of words and their inflections, is an essential of poetry. Poet must understand, intuitively, the rules of constructing phrases as well as the occasions on which it is permissible to flaunt syntax, to juxtapose words that, according to ordinary grammatical principles, should not occur together. Fascination with language and facility with words, rather than the desire to express ideas, are the hallmarks on the poet. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 76)

Rhetorical aspect of language -- the ability to use language to convince other individuals of the course of action. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 78)

Mnemonic potential of language -- the capacity to use language to help one remember information. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 78)

Revolution in the study of language sparked by the linguist Noam Chomsky has yielded a firmer understanding of what language is and how it works. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 78)

Noam Chomsky claims that children must be born with considerable "innate knowledge" about the rules and forms of language, and how to decode and speak in a "natural language." (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 80)

Syntactic and phonological processes appear to be special, specific to human beings, and unfolding with relatively scant need for support from environmental factors. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 80)

For right-handed individuals, language is associated with certain areas in the left hemisphere of the brain. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 85)

Narrative, the ability to communicate what has happened in a series of episodes, is associated with the pragmatic functions of language in the right hemisphere. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 89)


Musical Intelligence

Like language, music is a separate intellectual competence. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 122)

Musical intelligence has its own developmental trajectory as well as his own neurological representation. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 125)

Musical talent emerges earlier in life than other intelligences. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 99)

Close association that exists between music and bodily or gestural language. Evolution of music ties it closely to primordial dance. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 123)

Music can serve as a way of capturing feelings, communicating them from the performer or the creator to the attentive listener. The neurology that permit or facilitates this association has by no means been worked out. Musical competence depends not upon cortical analytical mechanisms alone, but also upon subcortical structures deemed central to feeling and to motivation. Individuals with damage to the subcortical areas, or with disconnection between cortical and subcortical areas, are often described is being flat and devoid of affect. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 124)

Music can stimulate emotions, accelerate the pulse, cure the course of asthma, induced epilepsy, or calm an infant. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 127)

Active listening to music is a kind of vicarious performance by inwardly reproducing the music. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 104)

There have been cases of autism in which a youngster who can barely communicate with anyone else can sing back flawlessly any musical piece he hears. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 100)

A musical composer constantly has tones in his head -- always somewhere near the surface of his consciousness, hearing tones, rhythms, and larger musical patterns. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 101)

Evolutionary origins of music.  Musical instruments dating back to the Stone Age. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 115)

Mechanisms by which pitch is apprehended and stored are different from the mechanisms that process other sounds, particularly those of language. A person can some suffer significant aphasia without any discernible musical impairment. Majority of musical capacities, including the central capacity of sensitivity to pitch, are localized in most normal individuals in the right hemisphere. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 117-118)

Injury to the right frontal and temporal lobes causes pronounced difficulties in discriminating tones and in reproducing them correctly. Injuries in the left hemisphere, which caused devastating difficulties in natural language, generally leave musical abilities relatively unimpaired. Ability to perceive and criticize musical performances seems to rely all right hemisphere structures. With normal individuals, musical abilities turn out to be lateralized to the right hemisphere. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 118)

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Whereas logic is involved with statements, mathematics deals with abstract, nonlinguistic entities. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 135)

At the center of mathematical prowess lies the ability to recognize significant problems and then to solve them. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 143)

To find an analogy between kinds of analogies is a special mathematical delight. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 141)

Many mathematicians report that they sense a solution, or direction, long before they have worked out each step in detail. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 139)

Mathematicians may get a hunch that something is correct, yet not be able to verbalize why. They may then resort to formal, more serial and language-like theorems to prove the case, and these seem to require conscious processing. (Rolls; Emotion Explained, 403)

If mathematics is to convince others, it must be worked out in precise detail, with nary an error in definition or in chain of reasoning. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 140)


Research study — Mathematical Intelligence Dyscalculianeural basis of arithmetical abilities in the parietal lobes, which are associated with magnitude processing and arithmetic fact retrieval, while occipito-temporal areas are associated with processing symbolic form.


Spatial Intelligence

Ability to solve spatial problems efficiently is special, apart from straight logical or linguistic ability. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 175)

Spatial intelligence entails a number of related capabilities: the ability to recognize instances of the same element; the ability to transform or to recognize a transformation of one element into another; the capacity to conjure up mental imagery and then to transform that imagery; the capacity to produce a graphic likeness of spatial information. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 176)

The most elementary operation upon which other aspects of spatial intelligence rest is the ability to perceive a form or an object. Mentally manipulating the form of an object, appreciating how it will be perceived from another viewing angle, is entirely in the spatial realm. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 174)

Just as musical and linguistic processing are carried out by different processing centers and need not interfere with one another, so, too, spatial and linguistic faculties seem able to proceed in relatively independent or complementary fashion. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 178)

Vivid role of imagery in the solution of problems has often been recounted by scientists and inventors. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 191)

Einstein had an especially well-developed set of capabilities in spatial intelligence. His intuitions were deeply rooted in classical geometry.  He had a very visual mind. He thought in terms of images or experiments carried out in the mind. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 190)

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Control of bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully form the core of bodily intelligence. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 206)

Dancers and swimmers developed keen mastery over the motions bodies, as well as individuals such as artisans, ballplayers, and instrumentalists, who are able to manipulate objects with finesse. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 207)

The pirouette of a ballet dancer, the powered backhand of a tennis player, the fingering technique of the pianist, and the coordinated eye movements of a reader all require a remarkable degree of motor skill. (Kandel; Principles of Neural Science, 653)

Whereas the cortex serves as the "highest" center in most forms of human activity, it is the relatively lowly basal ganglia and the cerebellum that contain the most abstract and complex forms of "representation of movements"; the motor cortex is more directly tied to the spinal cord and the actual execution of specific muscular movements. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 210)

In the case of automatic, highly skilled, and involuntary activities, the whole sequence may be "preprogrammed" so that it can develop as a seamless unit with only the slightest modifications from the sensory systems. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 211)

Most normal individuals will have their language capabilities housed in the left hemisphere, and also the left side of their brains will be dominant for motor activity. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 212)

Left handedness (or right handedness for motor activities) seems to run in families. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 212)

Of all other uses of the body, none has reach greater heights or has been more variably deployed by cultures than the dance. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 222)

Dance goes back many thousands of years, in all probability to Paleolithic times, for masked dancing sorcerers and hunters are depicted in the ancient caves of Europe and in the mountain ranges of South Africa. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 222)

Personal Intelligences

Personnel intelligence involves two aspects: (1) the internal aspects of a person's feelings and emotions, and (2) the ability to notice and make distinctions among other individuals and, in particular, among their moods, temperaments, motivations, and intentions. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 239)

Adolescence is a time in which individuals must bring together their personal knowledge into an organized sense of self. Formation of the sense of self is a process in which an individual must come to terms with his own personal feelings, motivations, and desires, including powerful sexual ones. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 251)

In an advanced form, interpersonal intelligence permits a skilled adult to read the intentions and desires of many other individuals. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 239)

We see highly developed forms of interpersonal intelligence in political and religious leaders (Mahatma Gandhi or Lyndon Johnson), in skilled parents and teachers, and in individuals in the helping professions, be they therapists, counselors, or shamans. (Gardner; Frames of Mind, 239)




IQ Tests inadequate



   Research study — Intelligence — Recent Research



Link to — Consciousness Subject Outline

Further discussion — Covington Theory of Consciousness