Adulthood, Cognitive Development, and Multiple Intelligence

William Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development

Perry’s conceptual explanation of cognitive development is marred by significant problems. The study was conducted on those who studied in Ivy League learning institutions such as Harvard to understand their thinking patterns and the results were generalized to include all students. The populous of these institutions are predominantly white males who belong to the upper class (King, 1978). The idea is that these students experience no or minimal limitations in life if any (King, 1978). In addition, women and those who hail from different cultural and different ethnicity such as Africans were sidelined in this theory. The theory assumes that individuals adhere to a predetermined ‘group think’ pattern, an idea that does not always hold true. Under such circumstances, an adult learner holding different views from that of a given group is un-respected. The aftermath of applying Perry’s conceptualization or ideology within a learning setting comprising of adults is that both external barriers and learner individuality are totally neglected. It is advisable to consider equal representation across the learning spectrum as far as adultery learners and development theoretical perspectives are concerned. It is essential to establish alternative and acceptable ideologies other than the authoritative approach forwarded by Perry.


According to the results generated from my unique ‘M.I. Snowflake’, there is a correlation between reality and intelligence. The results show a higher musical and visual-spatial intelligence. Music and art have been my favourite since childhood. In fact, I have always loved painting, singing and listening to music. I am most perplexed by street performers, as well as graffiti artists. I am therefore in agreement with the M.I. Snowflake’s results. 

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Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory

According to Gardner’s theory, there are seven bits of intelligence. Applying it in an adult learning context would be a challenge because it does not a specific test that can measure this intelligence (Elena, & Suzana, 2016). Besides, the theory lacks a comprehensive and precise definition for the term intelligence. It intertwines the usage of aptitudes, skills, and abilities with intelligence. 


Elena, A. L., & Suzana, M. S. (2016). John Dewey’s educational theory and educational implications of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education4(2).

King, P. M. (1978). William Perry’s theory of intellectual and ethical development. New directions for student services1978(4), 35-51.

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