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3 - How Has Wisdom Been Studied in Psychology?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2021

Robert J. Sternberg
Affiliation:
Cornell University, New York
Judith Glück
Affiliation:
Klagenfurt University
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Summary

This chapter reviews how psychologists’ ideas of wisdom have evolved over time. There was virtually no research on wisdom until the 1970s. As psychologists became more interested in aging, wisdom, as a positive quality associated with old age, became a field of interest. The first psychological research programs on wisdom took a cognitive perspective, conceptualizing wisdom as a form of expert knowledge or practical intelligence. From about 2000 on, both the field broadened considerably. Wisdom was conceptualized as a combination of personality dimensions, self-transcendence, or applying insights gained from life reflection. In the third, most recent phase, wisdom is no longer viewed as a stable trait. As it turns out, wisdom depends on situations and contexts: most people are sometimes very wise and sometimes not wise at all. Some recent research looks at the situational conditions that foster or hinder wisdom.

Type
Chapter
Information
Wisdom
The Psychology of Wise Thoughts, Words, and Deeds
, pp. 58 - 82
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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