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Psychol Aging. 1995 Jun;10(2):155-66.

People nominated as wise: a comparative study of wisdom-related knowledge.

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Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, Berlin, Germany.


This study examined whether our conception of wisdom has a psychological bias, by focusing on a group of distinguished individuals nominated as being wise. The comparison groups included older clinical psychologists and highly educated old and young control groups. Wisdom-related knowledge was assessed by 2 tasks and evaluated with a set of 5 wisdom criteria. First, old wisdom nominees performed as well as clinical psychologists who in past research had shown the highest levels of performance. Second, wisdom nominees excelled in the task of existential life management and the criterion of value relativism. Third, up to age 80, older adults performed as well as younger adults. If there is a psychological bias to our conception of wisdom, this does not prevent nonpsychologists from being among the top performers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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