Investigating the applicability of multiple intelligence theory in pilot assessment and training

Edward J. Overchuk, Mary Niemczyk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    This investigative paper and research explores the Theory of Multiple Intelligence (MI) as defined by Gardner (1983, 1999) and its applicability in the assessment and education of commercial pilots. Multiple intelligence theory proposes that individuals have eight distinct intelligences with strengths in one or more of the intellects. The authors suggest that MI theory is more useful in describing cognitive processes in aviators than singular (IQ score) or general intellect theories. Beyond just describing cognitions, MI theory could be used to improve pilot training by expanding on educational methods suggested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Currently, most instructional methods for pilots are traditional in nature, which utilize lectures, cognitive-behavioral techniques, and one-on-one tutorial lessons. MI theory has rarely been applied to the design of aviation education (Craig & Garcia, 2001). To determine a pilot's intelligence profile, the Multiple Intelligence Developmental Assessment Scale (MIDAS) was utilized in this investigation. From a sample of 31 professional aviators and 55 college flight students a common MI profile became evident. A descriptive analysis of the MIDAS scores indicated that both professional pilots and flight students scored high on Intrapersonal and Spatial Intelligence. The "pilot profile" found in this investigation replicates past research in the development of the MIDAS. Because most pilots in this study have similar profiles, educational programs could capitalize on these intellectual strengths. Furthermore, if a flight student scores low on important intellectual strengths for flight, instructional and learning strategies could be implemented to match the student's intellectual strengths.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)57-68
    Number of pages12
    JournalCollegiate Aviation Review
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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