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Although wisdom has always played a prominent role in philosophy and religion, contemporary empirical wisdom research started around 1980, when several research teams tried to determine what wisdom is and how it can be measured. Two different approaches emerged, divided into implicit and explicit theories of wisdom. The implicit approach asked lay people to name characteristics of wise individuals that were then summarized into several dimensions, while the explicit approach referred to experts and classical wisdom texts to define the essential elements of wisdom. Based on these implicit and explicit wisdom theories, several wisdom measures have been developed in the past decades, ranging from measures that assess the cognitive aspects of general wisdom-related knowledge to those that attempt to capture the noncognitive elements of personal wisdom. Not surprisingly, correlates of wisdom vary, depending on what kind and what aspects of wisdom are assessed. Wisdom measures are distinguished on three dimensions: whether the measure assesses general or personal wisdom, whether cognitive or noncognitive aspects of wisdom are emphasized, and whether a rating measure or a standardized scale is used to assess wisdom.


Originally a part of a whole book The Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging

DOI: 10.1002/9781118521373

Published by Wiley