Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 May 2022
Wisdom researchers acknowledge the complex nature of this ancient construct, although they are yet to agree on its core components. A key question in the literature is whether Openness and Humour are aspects of wisdom or whether Openness is an antecedent of wisdom with Humour as a consequence.
Using structural equation modelling, we evaluated data from 457 online respondents aged 16–87 years (Mage = 35.19, SD = 17.45). We analyzed a model with Openness as a precursor to Wisdom (conceptualised as a latent mediator variable using parcels of the SAWS Experience, Reminiscence/Reflection, and Emotional Regulation items), with Humor as outcome. We compared this model with a model using Wisdom as a latent mediator variable using parcels of the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale-12 (3D-WS-12).
A model using Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale (SAWS)-9 latent mediator variable with Openness as precursor to wisdom and Humour as a consequence was good fit for the data and displayed full mediation. Similarly, a model using the 3D-WS-12 as latent mediator variable to measure wisdom and with Openness as a precursor to wisdom and Humour as a consequence also fits the data with full mediation.
These findings provide empirical support for theoretical suggestions in the literature that Openness is a precursor to wisdom and that Humour is a consequence of wisdom using two of the most common self-report measures of wisdom. An improved understanding of the nature of wisdom and especially of its potential precursors can also be of use in future efforts to facilitate the development of wisdom.