Boosting Wisdom: Distance from the self enhances wise reasoning, attitudes and behavior.

Kross, E., & Grossmann, I. (2012). Boosting wisdom: Distance from the self enhances wise reasoning, attitudes, and behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(1), 43-48. doi:10.1037/a0024158

Although humans strive to be wise, they often fail to do so when reasoning over issues that have profound personal implications. Here we test the hypothesis that psychological distance enhances wise reasoning, attitudes and behavior under such circumstances. Two experiments demonstrate that cueing people to reason about personally meaningful issues (Study 1: Career prospects for the unemployed during an economic recession; Study 2: Anticipated societal changes associated with one’s chosen candidate losing the 2008 United States presidential election) from a distanced perspective enhances wise reasoning (dialecticism; intellectual humility), attitudes (cooperation-related attitude assimilation) and behavior (willingness to join a bipartisan group).

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(My publication)Posted:Feb 01 2012, 12:00 AM by Igor Grossmann
  • Douglas McKee said:

    "Psychological distance" is a hardly a new concept. “We are not our thoughts or the object of our thoughts, we are the Thinker” is the sum of the teaching. Viktor Frankl described it best, IMHO, when he said, “The human brain is a stimulus response organ. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our ability to choose. In our choice lies our freedom.” Richard Lazarus described it in his Appraisal Theory, “What does this mean to me now?”

    We have the capacity to make different choices, but not necessarily the ability. We are not taught this fundamental life skill so we develop the habit of believing we are what we think, that our chosen model of the universe is the correct one.

    October 27, 2012 7:07 AM
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