If you consider wisdom in a cultural, historical, religious, and psychological view, the possession of wisdom involves five major components, according to Baltes & Staudinger (2000):
- Rich procedural knowledge about life - Knowledge about human nature and development, relationsships, social norms and major life events.
- Rich factual knowledge about life - Knowledge about decision-making, conflict resolution, importance of life goals.
- An understanding of lifespan contexts - A broad temporal perspective of life as past, present and future. An awareness that life involves many contexts.
- An awareness of the relativism of values and priorities - An acknowledgement of subjectivism
- The ability to recognize and manage uncertainty - Acknowledgement of the uncertainty of life
The authors (Baltes & Staudinger, 2000) also examined the relationship between a number of variables and wisdom-related performance in adults. The study shows that wisdom is a result of multiple sources and attributes. Intelligence explains 15% of the variance of wisdom-related performance, while personality-intelligence explains 35%, personality traits 21% and life experience 26%.
The study did not find a significant relationship between age and wisdom-related performance, so it may rule out the common assumption that age and wisdom go together. However, life experience is predictive of wisdom-related performance - so the way we use our experience is probably more important than age itself. The study suggests that wisdom rises steadily from age 13 to 25 and then remains relatively stable through to age 75.
- Intelligence (fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence): 15%
- Personality-intelligence (creativity, cognitive style, social intelligence): 35%
- Personality traits (openness to experience, personal growth, psychological-mindedness): 21%
- Age (adulthood): Non-significant
- Life experience (general life experience, specific professional experience): 26%
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