Special journal issue on wisdom research

"How is it possible that knowledge and information have become so much more accessible to people in many parts of the world, but we do not seem to have become any wiser?"

This is a foundational question Dr. Judith Glück, Professor in the Institute of Psychology at Alpen-Adria Universitat Klagenfurt, asks in her recent editorial "New Developments in Psychological Wisdom: A Growing Field of Increasing Importance". The article, published in the November 2018 special issue of The Journals of Gerontology Series B (Volume 73, Issue 8), provides an introduction and brief synopsis to the issue edited by Glück.

Click here for the Special Issue

The issue opens with Glück's, argument, a continuation of Robert Sternberg's assessment, that we as a society, need more than just intelligence and knowledge...we need wisdom. She notes the study of wisdom may seem elusive due to its complex nature, but the scientific study of wisdom is possible.

When asked about the motivation behind a special wisdom issue, Glück surmised,

"We believe that wisdom research has a lot to contribute to how we can make the world a wiser place. Perhaps it is because others share this view that psychological wisdom research has recently been growing a lot and is becoming more and more visible in high-quality journals."

The wisdom-based issue unfolds with work from leading researchers in the field of wisdom in eight publications using a variety of approaches from interviews, narratives, wisdom measures, and cultural variance. This installment of the journal addresses topics in understanding wisdom, development across the lifespan, and the criteria one must meet to be considered wise. Through this issue, we begin to understand the situations and circumstances in which one might be better able to make wise decisions.

Glück's editorial is poignant with an explicit global call to wise action in the face of climate change, inequality, and radicalism. She states,

"Issues like climate change, populism and polarization, global inequality, and so on require humanity to make decisions that are not just smart but wise - wise in Bob Sternberg's sense, that is, practically intelligent, creative, and most importantly, aimed at optimizing a common good instead of a single individual or group's benefit."

If we can use the findings across these papers as a starting point, maybe the knowledge, intelligence, and insights we gain from them can guide us toward a path of global wise action.

Articles in the special issue:

Glück, J. (2018). New developments in psychological wisdom research: A growing field of increasing importance. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 1335-1338.

Ardelt, M., Pridgen, S., & Nutter-Pridgen, K. L. (2018). The relation between age and three-dimensional wisdom: Variations by wisdom dimensions and education. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 1339-1349.

Igarashi, H., Levenson, M. R., & Aldwin, C. M. (2018). The development of wisdom: A social ecological approach. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 1350-1358.

Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., Fournier, M. A., & McLean, K. C. (2018). "It was the best worst day of my life": Narrative content, structure, and process in wisdom-fostering life event memories. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 1359-1373.

Ardelt, M., & Jeste, D. V. (2016). Wisdom and hard times: The ameliorating effect of wisdom on the negative association between adverse life events and well-being. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 374-1383.

Kunzmann, U., Nowak, J., Thomas, S., & Nestler, S. (2018). Value relativism and perspective taking are two distinct facets of wisdom-related knowledge. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 1384-1392.

Glück, J. (2017). Measuring wisdom: Existing approaches, continuing challenges, and new developments. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73 (8), 1393-1403.

Zachry, C. E., Phan, L. V., Blackie, L. E., & Jayawickreme, E. (2018). Situation-based contingencies underlying wisdom-content manifestations: Examining intellectual humility in daily life. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(8), 1404-1415.

Hu, C. S., Ferrari, M., Liu, R. D., Gao, Q., & Weare, E. (2016). Mainland Chinese implicit theory of wisdom: Generational and cultural differences. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(8), 1416-1424.

Click here to read the issue!

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