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

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).

Read the article


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