Rosemary Austin, 77, possesses naturalist intelligence. The Weather Channel is one of her favorites. She is very interested in and conscious of the times for sunrise and sunset, ocean tides, moon phases, and the like. Her many and varied houseplants qualify her for a "green thumb" award. She never gets lost and always knows the shortest route to any destination.
She also possesses linguistic intelligence. Since retiring from a successful teaching career, she has written several novels and is very active in several romance writer associations.
No matter what our age, we can create new connections within the brain. It is repeated exposure to new information that grows these connections. The more connections we have, the deeper the brain's resources upon which to call. As adults, we can produce and fine-tune neuron connections much as a baby creates new connections after birth. We also can grow new cells, particularly in the hippocampus (the area helping us to store new memories and continue learning). Research such as the Seattle Longitudinal and Baltimore Longitudinal studies prove that not only can you maintain mental agility and performance as you age into your 80s and beyond, you
can regain performance levels you may have had in the past (see Chapters 6, "Regain an Agile Brain," and 7, "Enjoy Your Ageless Mental Agility," for more details).
Areas of processing that are used frequently increase in size and move into some of the surrounding areas previously allocated for other functions. If you don't use it, you do indeed lose it!
Recall that Howard Gardner believes that there are at least seven intelligences that should be valued equally: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, and personal. Knowing your strengths will provide valuable information to you. First you will know what types of learning will come easily to you. Second, you will be able to understand, and learn to compensate for, the types of learning that are difficult for you.
Take a moment to speculate as to what your strengths might be. Choose three of the intelligences you feel you possess. Write them in the spaces below.
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