Psych Bio: Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. In 2004 he was named an Honorary Professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. In 1990, he was the first American to receive the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education and in 2000 he received a Fellowship from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2005 and again in 2008 he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-two colleges and universities, including institutions in Ireland, Italy, Israel, and Chile.

The author of over twenty books translated into twenty-seven languages, and several hundred articles, Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. During the past twenty five years, he and colleagues at Project Zero have been working on the design of performance-based assessments, education for understanding, and the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and assessment. In the middle 1990s, Gardner and his colleagues launched The GoodWork Project. “GoodWork” is work that is excellent in quality, personally engaging, and exhibits a sense of responsibility with respect to implications and applications. Researchers have examined how individuals who wish to carry out good work succeed in doing so during a time when conditions are changing very quickly, market forces are very powerful, and our sense of time and space is being radically altered by technologies, such as the web. Gardner and colleagues have also studied curricula. Gardner’s books have been translated into twenty-seven languages. Among his books are The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts and Standardized Tests, The K-12 Education that Every Child Deserves (Penguin Putnam, 2000) Intelligence Reframed (Basic Books, 2000), Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Basic Books, 2001), Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds (Harvard Business School Press, 2004), and Making Good: How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work (Harvard University Press, 2004; with Wendy Fischman, Becca Solomon, and Deborah Greenspan). These books are available through the Project Zero eBookstore.

Currently Gardner continues to direct the GoodWork project, which is concentrating on issues of ethics with secondary and college students. In addition, he co-directs the GoodPlay and Trust projects; a major current interest is the way in which ethics are being affected by the new digital media.

In 2006 Gardner published Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons, The Development and Education of the Mind, and Howard Gardner Under Fire. In Howard Gardner Under Fire Gardner’s work is examined critically; the book includes a lengthy autobiography and a complete biography. In the spring of 2007, Five Minds for the Future was published by Harvard Business School Press. Responsibility at Work, which Gardner edited, was published in the summer of 2007.

In his own words…

I was born in Scranton, PA in 1943, the son of refugees from Nazi Germany. I was a studious child who gained much pleasure from playing the piano; music has remained very important throughout my life. All of my post-secondary education has been at Harvard University. I was trained as a developmental psychologist and later as a neuropsychologist. For many years, I conducted two streams of research on cognitive and symbol-using capacities–one with normal and gifted children, the second with adults who suffered from brain damage. My effort to synthesize these two lines of work led me to develop and introduce the theory of multiple intelligences in my 1983 book Frames of Mind. Since the middle 1980s, I have been heavily involved in school reform efforts in the United States. In 1986, I began to teach at the Harvard Graduate School of Education while continuing my long-term involvement with Project Zero, a research group in human cognition that maintains a special focus on the arts. During the last fourteen years, my research has focused on the GoodWork Project, as described above. For more detailed information about this work, visit the GoodWork Project site. With colleagues, I am also studying the nature of interdisciplinary work as it is carried out in pre-collegiate and collegiate settings and also in research institutions. Colleagues and I are studying the role of trust and trustees in contemporary American Society. Finally, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, colleagues and I are studying how the ethical compass of young people is affected by the new digital media.

I am married to Ellen Winner, a developmental psychologist who teaches at Boston College. I have four children: Kerith (b. 1969), Jay (b. 1971), Andrew (b. 1976) and Benjamin (b. 1985); and one grandchild (Oscar, b. 2005). My passions are my family and my work; I also enjoy travel and a range of art forms

My principal lines of work have been described in several books and a number of key articles listed in my Principal Publications. Inquiries about my work can be sent to me by regular mail or to I lecture publicly on such topics as education, intelligence, creativity, leadership, professional responsibility, disciplinary and interdisciplinary study, good work, good play, and the arts.

More on Howard Gardner.

Dr. Howard Gardner
Harvard Graduate School of Education
201 Larsen Hall
14 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138

Howard Gardner
Email address:
Faculty webpage:
Interests: Theory of Multiple Intelligences


His books:

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