Attention for Multiple Intelligences from France

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has been receiving an abundance of attention in recent weeks from France and the Francophone world.

First, a conference on the topic of MI theory took place on March 24, 2015, in La Rochelle, France, co-organized by Apel (Association des parents d’élèves de l’enseignement libre), newspaper la Croix, and bi-monthly magazine Cerveau & Psycho. Gardner participated in a short, pre-recorded video interview about MI that was shown at the event, which is available below via YouTube (French subtitles):

A PowerPoint presentation shown at the conference is available by clicking here.

cover cerveauThe conference itself generated a fair amount of publicity, including a special edition of Cerveau&Psycho (March-April 2015) with three separate full-length articles about multiple intelligences theory. These were (available in French by clicking on the appropriate description):

The magazine also published the results of a parent survey about which intelligences parents would most like to foster in their children.

Furthermore, La Croix devoted a large spread in its March 25, 2015, edition to a group of articles about multiple intelligences, which included:

Additional materials are available via the Apel website. Photos from the conference have been published on the Apel Facebook page

Other French media outlets have also seemed to indicate a heightened awareness of multiple intelligences recently. Daily newspaper Libération featured an article about using MI theory in schools to enhance learning outcomes, and radio broadcaster France Inter’s program “La tête au carré” also devoted a show to MI. Newspaper Les Échos has also published an article explaining the components of multiple intelligences. These developments follow the release of stories in L’Express and BioInfo about multiple intelligences at the end of 2014, initially reported on Gardner’s official MI website,

One group in France has even created a children’s song explaining each of the components of MI, recorded by The Smartles, with animated characters to match (see the video below, with English subtitles):

Finally, below is an interesting exchange from a French student studying MI theory at university that Gardner recently received.

Mr. Gardner, 

I’m a student in the French university Panthéon-Assas. I come to you because I’m actually working on studying qualities of detectives. I’m working with your multiple intelligences theory, and I should be glad and proud if you could tell me few words about what you think are the intelligences of a detective (to be able to investigate as well as possible). 

Thank you for your time.


Scholar in France


Dear Scholar,

Thank you for your note and your interest in multiple intelligences.

You raise an interesting question. As detectives are conventionally portrayed in the media (I have never spoken to a detective in person), they rely heavily on making deductions. That seems to me like logical-mathematical intelligence. But detectives are also interested in motivation—why would X have robbed or killed Y?—and that involves interpersonal intelligence. Depending on the nature of the clues, any intelligence could be involved. For example, if a victim left a note to be read, that involves linguistic intelligence. Or if there is a physical trail to be pursued, that activates spatial intelligence. And so on.  

So, as in many areas of life, proficiency can involve a number of intelligences, and individuals might differ on which intelligences they make use of.

I hope that this answers your query.

With best wishes,

Howard Gardner

We are excited to announce all of these developments from France, and we look forward to seeing how multiple intelligences theory will continue to receive interest in French-speaking parts of the world!


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