This is the ability to solve problems or fashion products using one's body. Highly developed bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is exhibited by people such as dancers, athletes, surgeons, artisans, and musicians. Gardner (1993b) defined characteristics of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence as including:

  • Using one's body in highly differentiated and skilled ways, for expressive and goal-directed purposes
  • Working skillfully with objects, both those that involve the fine motor movements of one's fingers and hands and those that exploit gross motor movements of the body
  • Controlling bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects

Skilled performance includes characteristics, such as a sense of timing, sensitivity to points of repose or shifts of behavior, and a sense of direction. Fine motor abilities involve the ability to use one's hands and fingers to carry out delicate movements involving precise control. In music, for example, refined independent patterns of movement are involved when a pianist plays contrasting patterns of movement, simultaneously sustaining different rhythms or melodies. Our kinesthetic sense monitors the execution of motor actions, allowing us to judge the timing, force, and extent of our movements, and to make necessary adjustments.

The abilities to watch, observe keenly, imitate, and re-create are central to all performing arts. It is the capacity to involuntarily mimic and go through the experiences and feelings of others that allows us to understand and participate in the arts. We apprehend directly the actions or the dynamic abilities of other people or objects, as when we feel a lump in our throats when an actor cries.