Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 October 2021
This chapter reviews the methods that psychologists have devised for measuring wisdom. There are two classical types of measures: self-report scales, where people rate themselves with respect to characteristics of wisdom, and performance measures, where people respond to descriptions of problems that require wisdom. Both types of measures have their problems. Self-report wisdom scales are susceptible to both unintentional distortions, if participants have inaccurate views of themselves, and intentional distortions, if participants want to present themselves as wiser than they are. Performance measures require a lot of effort for administration and scoring, and they measure what participants theoretically think about a problem, which is not necessarily what they would do if they were faced with that problem in real life. New approaches have tried to move the measurement of wisdom closer to real life. Some researchers ask people about difficult events from their own life. Other researchers use videos instead of real-life conflicts and written problem descriptions. There is still a lot of room for improvement of our wisdom measures.