Wisdom in the News

Early Career Scholar Award Winners: International Wisdom Summit 2021

In October 2021, the International Wisdom Summit committed to support early career scholars in their work through flash talk presentations of wisdom and morality based research (recorded presentations can be viewed here).  While all 16 flash talks proved to be intriguing and solicited a lot of discussion amongst the summit participants in chats and small groups, three standout presentations were awarded for live research talks with time limitations of five slides in five minutes.  Awards went to Anna Dorfman, Andreas Scherpf, and Abhishek Sharma.

The top prize went to Anna Dorfman, from Bar-Ilan University, Israel for her presentation Mind the gap: Wisdom attenuates a male bias toward gender pay-gap denialism on the role wise reasoning plays in accepting or denying the existence of the gender pay gap. Her research, co-authored with Justin Brienza of University of Queensland, Australia and Ramona Bobocel of University of Waterloo, Canada, suggested that wisdom-related thought processes about societal inequity counteract motivated reasoning and mitigate self-centered reactions to that equality. They conclude the ability to reason wisely may counteract denialism in the context of the gender pay gap. Dorfman, an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, is interested in how people react and respond in challenging situations. She stated, “I got to studying wisdom to better understand how different aspects of wisdom can promote better decisions and outcomes for individuals and groups.”

Her research expands to concepts in the development and loss of wisdom and wise decision making over time. Dorfman is also working on new avenues in wisdom research which incorporates more social psychological concepts including empathy for outgroups, acceptance of non-violent resolution, and how wisdom impact team cooperation, creativity, and performance. While she has several publications, recent journal articles on wisdom include a paper she co-authored titled Training for wisdom: The distanced self-reflection diary method, an article currently in press titled None the wiser: How adversity type and self-distancing impact change in wisdom following adversity, and has a working manuscript of a paper on the research in her flash talk presentation.

The International Wisdom Summit committee included a panel of wisdom research experts including Dr. Igor Grossmann from the Wisdom & Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, Canada, Dr. Nic M. Weststrate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago Center for Practical Wisdom’s Dr. Howard C. Nusbaum and Jeannie Ngoc Matelski-Boulware. In addition to the top prize, the committee also awarded two honorable mentions for Early Career Scholar flash talk presentations to Andreas Scherpf from University of Klagenfurt, Austria and Abhishek Sharma from Saradar Patel University of Police Security and Criminal Justice, India.

Abhishek Sharma presented Translational relation of wisdom and transformational leadership: Exploring conceptualization and predictions on his research conducted with Ankita Sharma from the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, India. Their research examined the connections between a transformative leader and a wise leader focusing on people's perception of and exposure to diversity, intellectual humility, and personality. He argued that modern leaders should be oriented toward inclusivity and human flourishing. Their research theorized and tested a mediation model for diversity, dispositional characteristics, wisdom, and transformational leadership. As an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist, Sharma is interested in wisdom in action and the role of a leader's cognitive, affective, ethical, and spiritual standing in individual outcomes through development, approval, and ignorance of organizational processes.

He has a working manuscript on exploring the link of dispositions, experience, and exposure in the development of wisdom and a manuscript exploring the role of wisdom and leadership. He recently published (co-authored with Dr. Ankita Sharma) What doesn't break you makes you wiser: An experimental validation of personal wisdom development through regret handling and personality dispositions. Sharma examines wisdom as a critical individual-level variable for better employee well-being and performance and better organization ethical output. He stated “I see wisdom as a significant variable in this understanding. I feel that the influence of wisdom at the institutional level regarding its presence and development in administration/leadership should receive much attention. Authority with wisdom is the need of the hour.”

Andreas Scherpf, a Master’s Candidate from the University of Klagenfurt, Austria also was awarded honorable mention for his presentation of Wisdom resources as a protection against conspiracy beliefs. He discussed patterns in the relationships between scores of the ‘Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire’ and two self-report measures of wisdom (the MORE Wisdom Resource Scale and the Brief-Wisdom-Screening Scale). While results indicated conspiracy mentality scores are correlated to dogmatic thinking, an aversion towards new experiences, low reflectivity concerning one’s own life, compulsory COVID-19 vaccination, and voluntary social distancing, wisdom was not found to be a strong protective factor. “This study highlighted some possible shortcomings of self-report questionnaires for assessing wisdom…and the need of considering the introspective abilities and social-desirability biases when using such measures.”

Scherpf’s master’s thesis explores these relationships further. He noted his research interests lie in the multidisciplinary aspects in the study of wisdom, given his prior research experience in which he examined dogmatism in relation to spoken words in transcripts of wisdom-related interviews.

To watch the recorded flash-talk presentations, the round table discussions, and the individual key notes from the International Wisdom Summit 2021 on the role of morality and cultural diversity in wisdom and access recommended readings on the topics, visit the International Wisdom Summit 2021 page.