Description: Think about what you have read, learned or heard about wisdom. It is not a characteristic typically applied to young people, is it? In fact, it is one of the few positive things associated with aging and with advanced age in particular. Why is that? What is it about wisdom that leads us to apply it so sparingly? Wisdom is not intelligence exactly, is it? It has something to do with what people (some people) are able to glean from their life experiences … maybe not in relation to figuring things out but more in relation to seeing and living with the complexities of life. Given this, would you expect that the wisdom that one may gather over time might vary depending upon whether the gatherer was male or female? This might make sense given the foundation of wisdom in experience and the experiences of men and women varying somewhat in relation to the gendered nature of experience. With tis in mind come up with a couple of hypotheses as to how wisdom might vary along gender lines and once you have your hypotheses sorted out, have a read through the linked article to see what some researchers found in their study of this topic.
Source: Wisdom engendered: Study finds men and women have different strengths, Science News, ScienceDaily.
Date: Feb 3, 2022
So, how did your hypotheses fare? Had you predicted that women would show more compassion related wisdom and more self-reflection while men would show higher levels of emotional-regulation and cognitive wisdom? Can you see how these patterns may be linked to gender-based patterns of socialization? It makes sense that wisdom could vary if it is based on experience which itself can vary by (cultural) socialization patterns. People get wise about things they have seen or experienced. Now, how might this already be changing as we move towards greater equity and diversity across the social world?
Questions for Discussion:
- What are some of the ways that wisdom is different than intelligence or simple life experience?
- How did the research discussed in the linked article suggest wisdom varied along gender lines?
- The researchers suggest that their results could guide efforts to increase wisdom-related resilience in the general population. What might that involve and how might such an intervention be configured and launched?
References (Read Further):
Emily B. H. Treichler, Barton W. Palmer, Tsung-Chin Wu, Michael L. Thomas, Xin M. Tu, Rebecca Daly, Ellen E. Lee, Dilip V. Jeste. (2022) Women and Men Differ in Relative Strengths in Wisdom Profiles: A Study of 659 Adults Across the Lifespan. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Link
Flebus, G. B., Tagini, A., Minonzio, M., Dushku, E., & Crippa, F. (2021). The Wisdom Acquired During Emergencies Scale–Development and Validity. Frontiers in psychology, 4334. Link
Xiong, M., & Wang, F. (2021). Gender Effect on Views of Wisdom and Wisdom Levels. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. Link
Aldwin, C. M. (2009). Gender and wisdom: A brief overview. Research in Human Development, 6(1), 1-8. Link
Tang, T. L. P., & Chen, Y. J. (2008). Intelligence vs. wisdom: The love of money, Machiavellianism, and unethical behavior across college major and gender. Journal of business ethics, 82(1), 1-26. Link
Maroof, R., Khan, M. J. Z., Anwar, M., & Anwar, A. (2015). A cross-sectional study of wisdom: A matter of age and gender. FWU Journal of Social Sciences, 9(2), 63-71. Link