Multiple Intelligences: Naturalist Intelligence

Multiple Intelligences: Naturalist Intelligence

We've all had a friend who loved dinosaurs. Surely if we make a list of the ten people closest to us we would be able to say who feels more passion for nature. Naturalist intelligence is one of the intelligences identified by Howard Gardner.

Society evolves and more and more people are involved in the welfare of the human being, not only mentally or physically, but also environmentally. In previous articles we have seen what is the Musical intelligence. Now it's the turn of the Naturalist Intelligence.


  • 1 What is Naturalist Intelligence?
  • 2 A bit of history
  • 3 Stages of development
  • 4 Neurological correlate
  • 5 Characteristics of people with outstanding Naturalist Intelligence

What is Naturalist Intelligence?

According to Howard Gardner is the "ability to distinguish, classify and use environmental elements, objects, animals or plants". Empathic behaviors towards animals and plants are observed and skills such as observation, experimentation, reflection and environmental questioning are included.

The fact of being raised in a rural or urban environment influences the manifestation and development of this type of intelligence. The fact of being endowed with a certain type of intelligence does not mean that it necessarily develops. It is important to receive adequate stimulation.

The interactions we have with our environment help us develop a perception of causes and effects on phenomena and possible future consequences. Gardner affirms that this intelligence arose almost at the same time that the human being arose. The need for survival depended on recognizing the different species, observing the climate and expanding food resources.

A little history

The Paleolithic period is presented as the first scenario in which the beginning of the development of naturalistic intelligence is located. The hunters and gatherers of that time had to guarantee the survival of the rest of the group. So apart from adapting to the environment they tried to influence him.

"Nature ... is inexorable and immutable; she never transgresses the laws that are imposed on her, nor does it matter if her reasons and methods of operation are understandable to men."

-Galileo Galilei-

The agriculture meant knowledge of the soil and vegetable cultivation and it comprises a large set of human actions that would transform the natural environment. The activities of the agricultural sector would be comprised of vegetables, cereals, fruits, vegetables, pastures and even fibers for making clothes. All this meant a deep development in the human being with respect to the knowledge of the environment.

Over the centuries the human being has been getting to know his surroundings more and more. Science has allowed him to delve into those aspects he did not know in the past. Science and naturalism often go hand in hand.

The environmentalism takes special meaning and is based on three pillars:

  1. Conservation and regeneration of natural resources.
  2. Wildlife Preservation
  3. Movement to reduce pollution and improve urban life.

Without a doubt, we see how with environmentalism it represents an evolution of naturalistic intelligence. They come to address issues such as sustainability, the ozone hole, acid rain, climate change or genetic pollution.

Stages of development

Since we were born we show naturist inclinations. This type of intelligence begins to emerge since we are very young and loses strength at age 14. Age at which, without a doubt, it can continue to develop if we stimulate it properly.

  • 4 months - We feel the breeze.
  • 1 year - The animals start getting our attention. However, dogs are the ones that capture our attention the most.
  • 1-2 years - We are affectionate living with animals. If we do not live with them, we are usually afraid of their proximity. We started to reproduce animal sounds.
  • 2-3 years - We begin to show interest in vegetation and plants. We adopt animal shapes with our hands to project them on the wall through lights and shadows.
  • 4 years - Our curiosity about natural effects arises.
  • 6 years - We like to collect insects and observing their forms.
  • Eight years - Children who go to camps or excursions or naturist tasks live experiences that allow them to deepen their environment.

Neurological correlate

Naturalist intelligence does not have a specific brain area. No specific areas of this type of intelligence have been found. Empirical evidence suggests that rather It involves several areas depending on the inclination of each person.

For example, areas of left parietal lobe they would be involved in the distinction between living and nonliving things. And areas of right hemisphere They would be behind the interaction of flora and fauna. Undoubtedly, more research is needed at the brain level to shed more light on the areas of this type of intelligence.

Characteristics of people with outstanding Naturalist Intelligence

One of the first features to highlight is the great curiosity that they feel for everything that surrounds them. They like to investigate, explore, know the reason for everything that takes place. Show empathy for animals and plants. The best learning style that children with outstanding naturalistic intelligence can have is one that is in contact with nature.

"The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man."

-Charles Darwin-

They are lovers of camps, excursions or everything that is related to the contact with the environment. They are able to differentiate and identify types of plants and animals. Children who have been stimulated in this area may be curious to pursue higher studies related to the study of the environment: biology, veterinary, marine sciences ...

You can also see those lovers of the countryside, the sea and nature in general, who still have no studies on the subject, like to read, inquire, investigate, etc. Surely we have a friend who likes hiking and getting lost in the mountains. Or another who likes activities at sea. Y the main characteristic of both is their respect and knowledge of nature.

And it is that the importance of this type of intelligence is such that if it were not so, we would often be in the hands of those who are only interested in filling their pockets with money. There are a large number of people building here and there while destroying nature and leaving us without flora and fauna, so important for a healthy world. If we all worried about stimulating this kind of intelligence, the world would be a much better place.