This item has the following downloads:
1 WISDOM AND THE LIFE CO URSE: AN ANALYSIS OF LIFE COURSE FACTORS RELATED TO LAYPEOPLES CONCEPTIONS OF WISDOM By HUNHUI OH A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Hunhui Oh
3 To my family Joohee and Noah
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to so many people. First and foremost, I thank my supervisor and mentor, Dr. Monika Ardelt for her warm-hearted guidance and intellectual stimuli. She helped me realize what I am capabl e of and elicited the reasons to be a responsible scholar, teacher, husband, and father. I also want to thank Dr. Michel Ferrari for supporting me by sharing his expertise and exper ience on the study of wisdom. Also, I couldnt have completed this project without my faculty members sincere assistance and critiques. The kind ness and intellectual knowledge of Drs. Charles F. Gattone and Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox taught me the principles of respectful teacher and researcher. Dr.Susan Bluck helped me extend my scope of academic knowledge further beyond the singl e discipline. With her mastery in psychology, I was able to take account of multidi sciplinary viewpoints of wisdom.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDG MENTS .................................................................................................. 4LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ 7LIST OF FI GURES .......................................................................................................... 8ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 9CHAPTER 1 INTRODUC TION .................................................................................................... 11The Conceptual Mean ing of Wi sdom ...................................................................... 13Theoretical Model ................................................................................................... 16Overview of the Study ............................................................................................. 172 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 20Studies on Wi sdom ................................................................................................. 20Explicit wisdom theory ...................................................................................... 21Implicit wisdom theory ...................................................................................... 25Life Course Factors of Wisdom Development ......................................................... 28Wisdom and cu lture .......................................................................................... 28Wisdom, spirituality, and relig ion ...................................................................... 29Wisdom nominees and social net works ........................................................... 31Wisdom and age .............................................................................................. 34Consequences of Wisdom Developm ent Wisdom and Well-being ...................... 393 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND HYPOTH ESES ................................................... 424 RESEARCH DESIGN A ND DATA ANAL YSIS ........................................................ 44Data Collection and Procedur e ............................................................................... 44Measures ................................................................................................................ 45Foundational Valu es Scale ............................................................................... 45Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale ................................................................... 46The Adult Self-Tran scendence Inv entory ......................................................... 47Subjective Health Status and Life Satisfac tion Scale ....................................... 48Coding of subjectively defined wisdom characteristics ..................................... 49Analysis Pr ocedure ................................................................................................. 52Phase 1: Mapping out the types of ties among wisdom components ............... 53Phase 2: Comparisons of wisdom groups in terms of general well-being and life satisfaction ............................................................................................... 53
6 Phase 3: Social network analysis of subjectively defined wisdom characteri stics ............................................................................................... 54Mapping of the network of connections among wisdom characteristics ..... 56Phase 4: Analysis of Qualitative Wis dom Interview Manuscripts to Explore the Life Course Factor s ................................................................................. 615 RESULT S ............................................................................................................... 66Wisdom Gr oups ...................................................................................................... 66Descriptive Char acterist ics ..................................................................................... 67Personal Wisdom C haracterist ics ........................................................................... 69Wisdom Characteristics Netw orks .......................................................................... 71Wisdom and Life C ourse Factors ............................................................................ 75The Seed of Wisdom: Types and F unctions of Fam ily Suppor t ........................ 76Lessons learned early on ........................................................................... 82Wisdom and Subc ulture ............................................................................. 86Role Models of Wisdom: Providi ng Advice, Support, an d Guidance ................ 89The Mind of Wisdom: Human Agency, Critical Thinking, and Learning from Experiences and Knowledg e ......................................................................... 936 CONCLUSION ...................................................................................................... 106Summary .............................................................................................................. 106Implicatio ns ........................................................................................................... 109APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR WI SDOM IN LI FE ........................................................ 115B DEMOGRAPHIC QU ESTIONNAIR E .................................................................... 117C THE FOUNDATIONAL VALUE SCALE (F VS) ...................................................... 118D 3-DIMENSIONAL WISDOM SCAL E ..................................................................... 120E THE ADULT SELF-TRANSCE NDENCE INVENT ORY ......................................... 123F SATISFACTION WITH LIFE SCAL E .................................................................... 124G CODEBOOK ......................................................................................................... 125List of Codes for Personal Wisdom Defini tion ....................................................... 125Coding Manual s .................................................................................................... 127LIST OF REFE RENCES ............................................................................................. 135BIOGRAPHICAL SK ETCH .......................................................................................... 145
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 5-1 Typology of the types of compositional relations of wisdom with cut-off points .. 995-2 Descriptive statistics and group diffe rences between the Triadic vs. Dyadic and the Triadic vs. Isol ated/Null Gr oups ........................................................... 1005-3 Wisdom characteristics and their stat istical comparisons among the Triadic, Dyadic, and Isolated & Null Group .................................................................... 101
8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 An example of the co-occurrence and recurrence of subjectively defined wisdom characteristics (based on three respondents in the Triadic Group) ....... 644-2 How to measure key wisdom characte ristics? A) Degree Centrality. B) Betweenness Centrality. The Size of nodes refers to Degree/Betweenness Centrality score. .................................................................................................. 655-1 Wisdom characteristics relational networks graph for the Triadic Group (Centrality score loaded). ................................................................................. 1035-2 Wisdom characteristics relati onal networks graph for the Dyadic Group (Centrality score loaded) .................................................................................. 1045-3 Wisdom characteristics relational networks graph for the Isolated and Null Group (Centrality score loaded) ........................................................................ 105
9 Abstract of Dissertation Pr esented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for t he Degree of Doctor of Philosophy WISDOM AND THE LIFE CO URSE: AN ANALYSIS OF LIFE COURSE FACTORS RELATED TO LAYPEOPLES CONCEPTIONS OF WISDOM By Hunhui Oh Aug 2013 Chair: Monika Ardelt Major: Sociology Wisdom is multifaceted. Despite no unifo rm definition of wisdom, much literature concurs that wisdom has triadic components; cognitive, reflective, and affective. Not only the attributes of each component, but the relational types, patterns, and dynamics among the triad should be further investigat ed by applying a life course perspective. With enhanced contextual knowledge of the relational stru cture of wisdom components, we can have detailed information on catalyst s and deterrents of wisdom development in person. The present study contains wisdom-relat ed in-depth interviews and survey data (n=101) collected from the U.S. A mixed-method design adopted a nonparametric statistical method, social network anal ysis, and content analysis for quantitative configuration and qualitative confirmation. The results showed that a triadic tie among wisdom components was a best fit in wisdo m development. The higher wisdom score group with triadic ties of the wisdom com ponents reported higher life satisfaction and better subjective health status than the lowe r score groups. The bo ttom group (i.e., the isolate and null group of wisdom components) identified more egocentric attributes as
10 wisdom characteristics, whereas people in t he top (i.e., the triadic group) appreciated the virtue of prosocial behaviors and lear ning from experiences and others. The content analysis manifested these distin ctions with detailed narratives on life course factors in relation to wisdom development and underst andings. Presence of supportive familial networks and wisdom figures (advice givers) in close proximity with frequent interactions for a decent amount of time, especially while growing up, helped people to extract life-enriching, prosocial factors out of life experiences and knowledge. Furthermore, instead of complaining of disadvantageous environments and conditions, people with top scores turned their otherwise dev astating life situations and experiences into the accumulation of productive learning and desired strategies for wise living with others. In conclusion, the present study sheds light on the impor tance of a sociological approach in the study of wisdom by recogni zing the importance of social relations, especially with senior kin me mbers, who provided wisdom role models. This study invites further investigations on the existence and the extent of cumulative advantages and disadvantages of early life environments and social support networks on persons wisdom development in later years.
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Laypeople crave wisdom not necessarily be cause they expect that wisdom can guarantee them happier, more fulfilling lives on principle, but more likely because wisdom as a developmental process can serv e as a guidepost, helping them make the best-possible decision at various junctures in their lives (Hall, 2010). Growing wise, in fact, is a lifelong process insofar as the dev elopment of wisdom at an earlier stage of life can help people facilitate the acquisition of sagacity and prudence for wiser decision makings at later years in life (Edmondson, 2012a; Richardson & Pasupathi, 2005). For instance, the presence and absence of ment orship and guidance during the formative years can affect laypeoples understanding and acquisition of wisdom decades later (Baltes & Staudinger, 1996). Also, religious family background might be an important subculture in which people develop and personalize the core ideas of wisdom over time, such as moral and mindful living, forgiveness, prosocial attitudes/behaviors, compassionate concern for others, and self-reflection (Wink & Dillon, 2002, 2003, 2013). Wisdom, however, remained as a topic largely ignored for decades in scientific inquiry of the social process of human devel opment throughout the life course (Baltes & Staudinger, 1996; Jordan, 2005; Sternberg, 2005). Jordan (2005) claimed that what was missing in the psychology-dominant wisdom study was an inquiry, such as, what wisdoms trajectory would look like if ce rtain environmental fact ors and challenges were absent or abated (p. 181). Sternberg (2005) also noted that t here was a tendency in the field of psychological wisdo m study to ignore the variations in individuals paths to wisdom across the life course. In brief, des pite the noble nature of wisdom as the
12 culmination of human development, wisdom might be exhibited differently across the life course, resulting in interpersonal va riances in laypeoples understandings and manifestations of wisdom. My assumption was that when we ignore pr ocedural and sociocultural aspects in the development of wisdom, we are limited in our ability to take into account sociological domains in which people lear n and mature by interacting with others. By ignoring the social development of wisdom, we impair our ability to further understand the nature, function, and ontogeny of wisdom, which can be invaluable critical knowledge for the promotion of wisdom. Hence, in order to comprehend t he antecedents and consequences of the variance in understandings and manifestations of wisdom, the present study focuses on the importance of a sociological approach to the study of wisdom. That is, adding life course principles of procedural, linked live s, agentic, and cultural perspectives (Elder, Johnson, & Crosnoe, 2004) to the psycholog y-dominant contemporary wisdom study can serve as a research framework for investigat ing what it really takes for individuals to be wise across the life course. The life course perspective describes and examines how various types of human developmental trajectories and transitions are influenced by prior individual experiences and being carried forward through time (Elder & Liker, 1982). Some individuals are able to choose their paths, a phenomenon known as human agency, but these choices are not made in a social vacuum (Elder, 1998). That is, as Elder ( 1998) and Dannefer (2003) noted, all life choices are contingent on the opportunities and constraints of social structure and culture t hat individuals are embedded in over the life course. More
13 specifically, Dannefer and Settersten (2010) argued that age is not enough to define individual lives. That is, human development and aging cannot be understood at either the individual or the societ al level, without paying att ention to the cumulated life practices and experiences of aging individual s (Dannefer & Settersten, 2010, p. 3). A major point of sociological analysis of the life course, accord ing to Dannefer (2003), is to reveal that even though human organisms have the potential to be actively involved and interact with social structures and institutions, such as the family to develop competence, self-actualization, and the motivation to pur sue the common good, this potential is in many cases not realized due to, for instance, parents divorce, absence of role models, lack of social support networks, or pressure to grow up prematurely to take care of ones family early in life. In this regard, the life course perspec tive can help clarify generally applicable conditions and factors that contribute to t he development of wisdom by investigating how wisdom is initially acquired, who helps in the development of wisdom over the life course, and how wisdom progresses toward successful aging. Overall, this approach can testify to the rationale for a paradigm sh ift in the study of wisdom from What is wisdom? to How and why is wisdom underst ood differently interpersonally, and to what extent does the variance matter with regard to manifestations of wisdom and subjective well-being? The Conceptual Meaning of Wisdom Since the 1970s, there has been an increasing consensus on the multidimensionality of wisdom as a developmental process and the resulting wise person (Ardelt, 2011; Clayton, 1975; Clayton & Birren, 1980; Staudinger & Glck, 2011; Yang, 2001, in press). Much contemporary scientific wisdom literature concurs that
14 wisdom develops as a collaboration of cognitive, reflective, and affective processes (a triadic tie among wisdom components) (Ardelt, 2003, 2011; Staudinger & Glck, 2011). The cognitive wisdom dimension concerns a deep and thorough understanding of life and a desire to know the truth. This insigh t into life and the human condition is obtained by the reflective component, defined as perce iving phenomena and even ts from multiple perspectives through the practice of self -examination and self -awareness. Selfreflection and a transcendence of ones subjec tivity and projection, then, increase sympathetic and compassionate love for others, which comprise the affective wisdom dimension (Ardelt, 2003, 2011). However, there is still considerab le debate about how and why laypeoples understandings of wisdom vary interpersona lly (Ardelt, 2011; Bluck & Glck, 2005; Clayton & Birren, 1980; Holli day & Chandler, 1986; Ster nberg, 1990, 2005; Staudinger & Glck, 2011). In previous reviews regardi ng the various scientific approaches to the complex and paradoxica l nature of wisdom (Ardelt & Oh, 2010; Ardelt, Achenbaum, & Oh, 2012), I found the following overarching themes missing from the contemporary scientific wisdom studies. First, the acquisition of wisdom might be related to long-lasting personal relationships between apprentice and mentor. In other words, the presence and absence of mentorship and guidance (e.g., fa mily and social support networks) during the formative years can affect laypeoples understanding and acqu isition of wisdom decades later. The development of wis dom thus depends not only on a certain personality makeup, such as the motivation and efforts needed to gain insights into life, but also on the availability of a wise ment or from whom one can seek and receive
15 advice in dealing with lifes vi cissitudes over the life course (Jordan, 2005; Staudinger, 1996). Second, investigating the cultural context of wisdo m development can enable us to see a mechanism in which specific wisdom characteristics emerge and are expressed on a regular basis. So far, cross-cultural wisdom studies have focused mainly on laypeoples conceptual differences in their implicit definitions of wisdom between Western and Eastern cultures (T akahashi & Bordia, 2000; Takahashi & Overton, 2005; Yang, 2001). Fi ndings suggest that Asian cultures tend to emphasize affective and synthetic dimensions of wisdom, whereas Western cultures are more likely to describe wisdom as consisting of cognitive, strategic, and analytic traits (Takahashi & Overton, 2005). Surprisingly, few cultural wisdom studies pay attention to the fact that numerous subcultures exist within the same culture. S ubcultures in which people mature early in the life course in close contact with familie s and communities that either promote or prohibit religious, spiritual, or secular va lues and life styles can have more direct, extensive effects on the appreciation and deve lopment of wisdom than a general culture of the East or the West. In this regard, the present research c oncerns not only the attributes of each wisdom component (cognitive, reflective, and affe ctive), but also the relational types, patterns, and functions among the triad based on laypeoples perceptions of wisdom. The enhanced contextual know ledge of the relational st ructure and function of the wisdom components is critical to examine the catalyst s and deterrents of wisdom development further. As mentioned earlier, I believe that th is search for the networks
16 among peoples subjective perceptions of wisdom will lead to improvements in the scientific study of wisdom by extending the current scope of knowledge on how wisdom forms and develops, what enhances or deters the cultivation of wisdom in people, and how important wisdom is in rela tion to optimal living and aging. Theoretical Model Over the last four decades, psychological studies of wisdom have established two main research areas. One discipline is referred to as implicit theories of wisdom and focuses on laypeoples subjective conceptio ns and descriptions of wisdom and the wise person (Bluck & Glck, 2005; Clayton & Birr en, 1980; Sternberg, 1985, 1990; Sternberg & Jordan, 2005), emphasizing insight in to life based on personal experience (Staudinger & Glck, 2011). The other academic branch is called explic it theories of wisdom. Explicit theories of wisdom are attempts by experts, rather than laypersons, to define the meaning of wisdom (Staudinger & Glck, 2011) (e.g., the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm, Baltes & Staudinger, 1993; Sternberg s balance theory of wisdom, Sternberg, 1998; NeoPiagetian cognitive perspectives, Kitc hener & Brenner, 1990; Kram er, 1990; PascualLeone, 1990). Simply put, implicit theorie s of wisdom primarily ask what do people think wisdom is? and explicit theories seek to investigate how wise is this person compared to that one? (Blu ck & Glck, 2005, p. 84) Despite increased knowledge of personal wisdom (e.g., what are the characteristics of a wise person?) and concept ual wisdom (e.g., what is wisdom as an abstract system?) over t he last decades (Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004; Staudinger, Drner, & Mickler, 2005), there is a dearth of wisdom research which applies both implicit and explicit theories in the same research (Staudinger & Glck, 2011). The
17 present study adopted both approaches in order to address the following questions: Are peoples implicit conceptions of wisdom, as expressed in their wisdom narratives, related to their degree of wisdom, as meas ured by an explicit wisdom scale? If so, how and to what extent do extrem e wisdom groups (i.e., the t op and the bottom scorers on a wisdom scale) definitions of wisdom differ in quality? What are the contributing lifecourse factors and conditions for divergent wisdom development trajectories among laypeople? What common factors can be found in described wisdom characteristics that are associated with successful human developmen t, such as life satisfaction? What are the possible implications that the findings can bring to the current field of wisdom study? In brief, the study was exp licit in that it first m easured participants level of endorsements of wisdom-related per sonality items to sort t hem into different wisdomscore groups. The groups, then, were co mpared based on the implicit wisdom characteristics reported from those wisdom groups by examini ng laypeoples wisdom narratives. The study subsequently used peoples wisdom-related life stories to explore the life course factor s that might foster or deter the devel opment of the wisdom components for each wisdom group. Thus, bot h implicit and explicit wisdom theories were used to address the research purposes: understanding how and why people define wisdom differently, where the differ ent conceptions and descriptions of wisdom come from, and to what extent they explain manifestations of wisdom and general wellbeing. Overview of the Study The main objective of this study was fourfold. First, I intended to employ an explicit wisdom theory to map out a typology of the dynamic ties of wisdom components (cognitive, reflective, and affective) based on the participants wisdom scale scores.
18 More specifically, I implemented a wisdom scale that was developed from a solid theoretical foundation and extensive empirical testings at various settings with samples of varying ages (i.e., Ardelts three-dim ensional wisdom scale; 3D-WS, Ardelt, 2003). Ardelts 3D-WS measures wisdom as a dynami c process in which cognitive, affective, and reflective resources develop interactivel y (Staudinger & Glck, 2011). Based on their endorsement scores on the multiple scal e items, people were placed into four different wisdom groups (i.e., the triadic, dyadic, isolated, and null group; see Procedure of Analysis chapter for further explanation). The typology served as a starting point for the following analyses. That is, the typology was used for the second aim, which was to compare wisdom groups for statistical differences in terms of subjecti ve health status and life satisfaction, followed by examining peoples implic it wisdom characteristics among these wisdom-score groups that separate people in the top score group (e.g., the triadic group) from those in other lower groups (e.g., the isolated and null groups) as third objective. The fourth objective was to explore life course fact ors that aided individuals in the top wisdom group in becoming wiser over t he life course. Specifically, this study explored what types of life-course factors (e.g., fam ily relations during childhood and wisdom role models for mentoring and advice giving) are associated with supporting or suppressing the development of wisdom. The sample consisted of qua litative and quant itative data ( N =101) from the U.S. with 50 young adults aged 21-30 and 51 ol der adults aged 65 and older, both surpassing high-school education. In-dept h interviews and surveys were both conducted by trained research assistants, asking about participants wisdom-related life
19 stories, which included personal wisdom experiences and definitions and wise people that they knew in person, along with standardized questions about demographic information, general life values, wisdom characte ristics, well-being, and life satisfaction. Coordinating both qualitative and quantitative measures of wisdom characteristics, a mixed-method design was used.
20 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Studies on Wisdom Numerous theories and explanations have been provided to define wisdom based either on the academic liter ature or personal narratives. In fact, the meaning of wisdom varies depending on the context and who is asked (Vaillant, 2002). To name a few, wisdom has been defined as integrity (Erikson, 1982), expert knowledge in the fundamental pragmatics of life (Balte s & Smith, 1990), a balanced knowledge encompassing interpersonal and greater so cial needs (Sternberg, 1990), selftranscendence (Levenson et al., 2005), pr oblem-solving ability (Arlin, 1990), an integration of mythos (holistic, affective, and experiential knowing) and logos (cognitive faculties such as reasoning) (Labouvie-Vief, 1990) a combination of cognitive, reflective and affective personality qualities (Ardelt, 2003), or just simply daily decision makings about, for instance, which school to apply, which companies to work for, and which retirement fund to invest in (Hall, 2010). Furthermore, wisdom can be studied in multip le ways. In the two most influential editorial books on contemporary wisdom from psychosocial perspectives, Wisdom: Its Nature, Origins, and Development (Sternberg, 1990), and A Handbook of Wisdom (Sternberg & Jordan, 2005), the editors invited professionals with multidisciplinary expertise to delineate the extensive and co mplex features of wisdom. Based on the sources of wisdom understandi ng and the purpose of the wisdom studies, they divided wisdom theories into explicit or expert t heories and implicit or lay theories. Also, depending on the roles and functions of wis dom and research samples demographic
21 and cultural differences, the concept was categorized into Western and Eastern approaches. Despite the various ways to approach the territory of wisdom, the central theme shared by much wisdom literature is that wis dom is multidimensional and the triadic tie of wisdom components (cognitive, reflective, and a ffective) is the best fit for explaining the characteristics of wisdom, which ar e mutually interdependent and prosocialoriented. In the following lines, a selective literature review presents detailed evidence for these overarching themes. Explicit wisdom theory Explicit theories prioritize the notion of obtaining a gold standard on the utopian concept of wisdom (Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004; Baltes & Staudinger, 2000; Baltes & Smith, 1990). In other words, as a guidepost on the conduct of life and an ideal endpoint of human development, this conc eptual orientation inquires what wisdom ought to be as an ideal abstract system (Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004). First and foremost, the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm led by the late Paul Baltes since the early 90s has played a major role in advancing the field of wisdom study. Specifically, Baltes and his colleagues defined wisdom as an expe rt knowledge system about fundamental problems relat ed to the meaning and conduct of life (Baltes & Smith, 1990; Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004; Baltes & Staudinger, 2000; Baltes, Staudinger, Maercker, & Smith, 1995; Dittmann-Kohli & Baltes, 1990; Kunzmann & Baltes, 2003; Smith & Baltes, 1990; Staudin ger & Baltes, 1996). Wisdom-re lated knowledge is the capacity to manage and solve complex, il l-defined life problems (e.g., deciding on a particular career path, acc epting the death of loved ones dealing with conflicts among social relations), and they can be measured based on five criteria: (a) rich procedural
22 knowledge about human nature and t he life course, (b) rich procedural knowledge about ways of dealing with life problem s, (c) lifespan contextualism, that is, an awareness of the many contexts of life including social relations, (d) value relativism and tolerance, (e.g., acknowledging individual, social, and cultural differences in values and life priories), and (e) knowledge about handling uncertainty, including the limits of ones own knowledge and the knowledge of the worl d at large (Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004). In response to a critique from Ardelt (2004a, 2004b) who pr oposed that their theoretical conception and meas urement of wisdom as a body of expert knowledge in a specific matter was similar to cold cognition, Baltes and colleagues asserted that their conception of wisdom includes a rich spec trum of specific cognitive, emotional, motivational, and social factor s as well as life contexts (Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004). In fact, during the recent dec ade, they have become increasingly interested in understanding the motivational, social, and emoti onal characteristic of persons varying in level of wisdom-related knowledge (Bal tes, Kunzmann, & Stange, 2005, p. 197) beyond the traditional emphasis on cognition (Baltes & Kunzmann, 2004; Kunzmann & Baltes, 2003, 2005). For instance, Kunzm ann and Baltes (2003) studied the relation between wisdom as an expert knowledge system and indicators of affective, motivational, and interpersonal functioning ( N =293, 93 young, 93 middle-aged, and 107 older German adults). Structural equation an alyses showed that individuals with higher levels of wisdom-related knowledge report ed higher affective va lue orientation with stronger motivational values and priorities toward less self-centered pleasantness and more cooperative, other-enhancing virtues than people with lower levels of wisdomrelated knowledge.
23 Furthermore, the importance of reflection besides social-interactive minds on the development of wisdom-related k nowledge was investigated under the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm (Staudinger, 1996; Staudinger & Baltes, 1996). Staudinger and Baltes, for instance, conducted an experiment in which study participants ( N =244, 20-70 in ages) were randomly assigned to five experimental conditions. The conditions varied in the degree to which they were asked to think al oud about given difficult life problems (e.g., A 15-year-old girl wants to get married right away. W hat could one/she consider and do?). The results showed that a group of people who were encouraged for actual social dialogue and the inner-voice dialogue (i.e., refl ection) had significantly higher performance levels (i.e., wisdom-related knowle dge based on the five criteria described earlier) than those with either no interaction or social dialogue only (Staudinger & Baltes, 1996). Those findings imply that people migh t have better access to their wisdom by reflecting on what they learn fr om their social interactions. Another main line of the explicit study of wisdom is Sternbergs balance theory (Sternberg, 1990, 1998; Sternberg & Jordan, 2005). This theory takes into account the reflective and interdependent, prosocial-or iented characteristics of the wisdom components. Sternberg (1990, 1998) drew upon s agacity as the most distinguishing dimension between wisdom and intelligence. According to him, a person who possesses sagacity through self-reflection and learning from others displays concern for others, considers advice, and understands people by listening an d interacting. Sagacity helps people to know themselves by not bei ng afraid to admit making a mistake with the intent of correcting the mistake. Sagacity, thus, forms the taci t knowledge for the
24 balance theory of wisdom, which involv es intrapersonal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal elements. Ster nberg (1998, p. 354) said, Wisdom is involved when practical intelligence is applied to maximizing not just ones own or someone elses self-interest, but rather a balance of various self-interests (intrapers onal) with the interests of others (interpersonal) and of other aspects of the context in which one lives (extrapersonal), such as ones city or country or environment or even God. In a nutshell, he argued that wisdom requires that personal knowledge and interests are mediated by socially-shared values, encompassing not only personal, but interpersonal and greater social needs. Ultimately, a balance among multiple interests and responses to social contexts (e.g., intrapersonal, in terpersonal, and extrapersonal interests and relations) plays a critical ro le for the development of wisdom (Sternberg, 1998). Besides a balanced knowledge of wisdom, mu ch wisdom literature concurs that advanced cognitive development is necessary but not sufficient for wisdom to be displayed (e.g., Neo-Piagetian cognitive pers pectives, such as Kitchener & Brenner, 1990; Kramer, 1990; Labouvie-V ief, 1990; Pascual-Leone, 1990). For example, Kitcheners Reflective Judgment model (Kitchener & Brenner, 1990) deals with adult cognitive development, claiming that wisdom should be based on knowing in the face of uncertainty. In a similar vein, Juan Pasc ual-Leone (Pascual-Leone, 1990) argued that wisdom should involve a dialectical int egration of the aut hority of reason and harmonious views of the world. In other words, a unique developmental aspect of wisdom is that it involves not just cogni tion but reflection, affect, and prosocial personality as a whole. An increased level of prosocial affect brings about a less egocentered personality (Pascual-Leone, 1990). It was Kramer (1990) who created the affect-cognition relations framework to emp hasize the importance of the integration of
25 affect, reflection, and cognition as central to wisdom. As stated by Kramer (1990, p. 307), If wisdom involves an integration of c ognition, affect, and reflectivitythen it is indeed a highly developed form of functioning which may account for the relatively small proportion of people at the dialectical level of thinking. Implicit wisdom theory More integrative features of wisdom hav e been found in studies of how laypeople understand the concept of wisdom. The rationale of implicit wisdom theories is that individuals carry a concept in their own head about who and what is wise and to what extent it matters in place. The subjecti ve perception of wisdom, thus, is formed not through what philosophers or psychologists have to say. Ra ther, it is formed through living in a society and learning from life vici ssitudes (Bluck & Glck, 2005). That is, the private, domestic, and familial domains are w here wisdom is most relevant (Hall, 2010). Clayton and Birren (1980) viewed wisdom as profoundly social, deeply interpersonal, and adaptive. Their seminal work which triggered the subsequent wisdom studies was a pilot study with a small number (N =83) of three age groups (31 young, 23 middle-aged, and 29 older adults). They presented research participants with all possible pairs of 15 wisdom-related adjectives and had them rate the si milarity of each pair. Then they compiled wisdom characte ristics mentioned at least twice across participants. The findings indicated that wisdom could mean a lo t of different, but mutually interdependent things. Besides t he cognitive dimension of wisdom, wisdom involved judgment, reflecti on, and compassion. Similarly, Holliday and Chand ler (1986) found that not only exceptional cognitive, judgmental skills, but also interpersonal skills and social unobtrusiveness were important parts of wisdom. They asked 150 adults of three age groups (50 young, 50
26 middle-aged, and 50 old) to define wisdom. In a follow-up study, another group of 150 adults with the same age composition were asked to rate the obtained wisdom characteristics on a scale from almost never true of wise people to almost always true of wise people. The findings of a principal component analysis indicated that wisdom is a mixture of (1) exceptiona l understanding of essences, contexts, and the self (e.g., learning from experience and seeing things in a larger context), (2) judgment and communication skills (e.g., the ability to understand and judge correctly in matters of daily living), (3) general competencies (e.g ., intelligent and educated), 4) interpersonal skills (e.g., sensitive and sociable), and 5) social unobtrusiveness (discrete and nonjudgmental). Sternbergs (1985) multidimensional sca ling analysis based on descriptors of ideal intelligent, creative, and wise individua ls collected from both college professors and layperson ( N =108) pointed out that wise individuals are perceived to have analytical reasoning ability similar to intelligent indi viduals. But the wise person has a certain sagacity that is not necessarily found in t he intelligent person. Sternberg (1985, p. 623) noted, In seeking as much information as possible for decision making, the wise individual reads between the lines as well as makes use of the obviously available information. In addition, acco rding to Sternberg (1985), t he wise individual has the ability to learn from his/her own and others experiences and mistakes. An open-minded attitude and reflective capacity, thus, run par allel with reasoning ability and sagacity in order for wise individuals to make clear, sensible, and fair judgments. More recent, extensive empi rical work led by Ardelt (2003) also indicated that research participants ( N =180 older adults, aged 52 and older) tended to perceive
27 wisdom as a combination of cognitive, refl ective, and affective dimensions. Bluck and Glck (2005) reviewed five descriptor-rating studies on wisdom characteristics (i.e., Clayton & Birren, 1980; Sternber g, 1985; Holliday & Chandler 1986; Hershey & Farrell, 1997; Jason, Reichler, King, Madsen, Cama cho, & Marchese, 2001) and reaffirmed the importance of integrative mi nds encompassing reflective a ttitude, concern for others, cognitive ability, and real-world skills. The aforementioned reviews show that although the approaches and measurements were different, and thus, the list of wisdom characteristics that were generated and subsequently rated by either respondents or professional raters was not identical in the studies, cognitive, reflecti ve, and affective wisdom characteristics were dominant descriptors endorsed by research participants throughout the studies. In particular, an integrative combination of t hese factors, accordi ng to Bluck and Glck (2005) came into play in certain individuals in given contexts, involving not only personal competencies but also motivations to help ot hers. Furthermore, a recent empirical study by Glck and Bluck (2011) with 1,955 German participants found t hat there are two different clusters of laypeoples subjec tive conceptions of wisdom (measured by participants ratings of wisdom characteri stics): One group (c ognitive conception) endorsed primarily cognitive (knowledge and life experience and cognitive complexity) and reflective (self-reflection and acceptance of others values) characteristics as central to wisdom, whereas another integrative conception group additionally endorsed affective characteristics, such as benevolence, empathy, love for humanity, and concern for others.
28 Life Course Factors of Wisdom Development Wisdom and culture Culture plays an important role in laypeoples understanding of wisdom. In a culture where the self is ex pected to establish and control a clear identity and to take charge in life transitions and developmental ta sks, a wise person is more likely to be characterized as being upward (self-pr omoting) and inbound (self-controlling) and therefore endorses cognitive, strategic, and anal ytic traits (Takahashi & Overton, 2005). By contrast, when the self is promoted as wise when it examines itself and finds harmony in relations and sagacity in decisions and advice seeking/giving, wisdom tends to be characterized as downward (modest, self-critical) and outbound (communal, altruistic) and thus affective, reflective and synthetic (Ardelt, 2011; Takahashi & Overton, 2005). Despite the fact that knowing the characteristics of each wisdom dimension (cognitive, reflective, affective) is an essential task, contemporar y studies of wisdom have paid less attention to the subculture which can influence the development of wisdom dimensions (Edmondson, 2012a, 2012b). More specifically, if the local reality, such as, family, friends and community tole rate, if not promot e, a self-centered understanding of wisdom, individuals might be susceptible to comprehend wisdom as a purely cognitive dimension, which asks for excellence and mastery of knowledge about human life, but is devoid of caring minds for others (Edmonds on, 2012a, 2012b). In contrast, in a culture where the affe ctive domain is promot ed for the sake of relational harmony and avoidance of social (familial and/or relational) conflicts, the reflective self tends to care more about the relation with other s, and thus the focus of life gears more toward self-fulfillment through mu tually interdependent relations (Takahashi
29 & Overton, 2005; Tiberius, 2008). Because a wise person realizes that there is no isolated self and that the self is mutually interdependent wit h others, wise decisions tend to be less intrusive and more harmonious than those that involve no concern for others (A balance theory of wis dom, Sternberg, 1998). In addition, as Csikszentmihalyi and Na kamura claimed (2005), if mastering wisdom-related knowledge about the fundamental pr agmatics of life (e.g., life planning, life management, and life review) is regarded by ones culture as a more important wisdom dimension than the emotional and reflec tive dimensions of wisdom, developing egocentric, self-empowering wisdom characte ristics are likely rewarded much higher than fostering modest, prosocial behaviors/attitudes. In such a self-motivating culture, a lack of concern for others can be overlooked while developing practical, self-oriented wisdom characteristics can appear to be wise (The content of wisdom, Csikszentmihalyi & Nakamura, 2005). Wisdom, spirituality, and religion Religiousness and spirituality can ul timately promote or repress human aspirations for greater wisdom (Hall, 2010). According to Hills and colleagues (Hills, et al., 2000), religion and spiritualit y are related but separate constructs. Religion often refers to adherence to an institutional doc trine, whereas spirituality deals with nontraditional, self-transcending minds and behav iors (Hills et al., 2000; Le, 2008). The wisdom literature seems to be congruent with the different orientations of religion and spirituality. Baltes ( 2004), for instance, argued that due to its commitment to a firm set of values, religion could be an intellectual enemy of wisdom (Baltes, 2004, p. 56) especially in the final stages of cultural or personal growth. He claimed that the development of wisdom is more likely to be seen in diverse social contexts through
30 which generational and interpersonal values, socialization, and the conduct and meaning of life are freely intercha nged than in religious disciplines. Similarly, in a longitudinal study, Wink and Dillon (2002, 2003) found that for an older age cohort (late 60s to late 70s) sp irituality (defined in terms of noninstitutionalized relig ion or nontradition-centered beliefs and practices in the individual life) and not religiousness (institutionalized or tradition-centered religious beliefs and practices) was significantly associated with greater wisdom Religiousness, on the other hand, was related to well-being through pos itive social networks with others and involvement in social and community events (Wink & Dillon, 2002, 2003). Despite the different relations of spirituality and re ligiousness with wisdom, however, Wink and Dillon (2002, 2003) found that individuals who were religious at young ages were more likely to become more spiritual in old age than those being less religious in the formative years. In particular, religion and spirituality ar e more likely associated with transcendent characteristics of wisdom than practical features (Le, 2008). Practical wisdom emphasizes wisdom-related knowledge in the pragmatics of daily living, advice, and action (e.g., the Baltes Wisdom Paradig m), whereas transcendent wisdom concerns mindfulness, intuitive insight, transformi ng consciousness, and detachment (Le, 2004, 2008; Levenson et al., 2005). Les (2008) empi rical study with European American and Vietnamese American adults found that belonging to a religious/spiritual community was positively related to transcendent wisdom (self-knowledge, detachment, and selftranscendence) but not to practical wisdom.
31 In this regard, it is important to note t hat the different orientations in personal beliefs and practices associated with religion and spirituality tend to be themselves influenced considerably by a subculture that people matured in the formative years and might still interact with on a daily basis. The very subculture in terms of religiousness and spirituality can be a facilitator in lay peoples different perceptions of wisdom and thus the development of wisdom. Even in th e same age group, for instance, people who grew up in a more authoritative, religious re gion (e.g., North-central Florida), may value elements of wisdom differently than people from a big city with multicultural, secular subcultures (e.g., New York City or Los Angeles). Wisdom nominees and social networks To understand laypersons definitions of wisdom, it is best to ask them the characteristics of a wise individual that they know in person (Holliday & Chandler, 1986) for the following reasons: First, wisdom is a socially developed construct (Staudinger, 1996; Staudinger & Baltes, 1996): O ne cannot gain wisdom without the direct or indirect teachings of others (Jordan, 2005). Wise dec ision-making or the development of wisdom is fostered by the pr esence of and/or consultation with another wise individual (Edmondson, 2012a, 2012b). Close intergenerational relations and fr iendships, for instance, may provide wisdom-conducive experiences and a conversa tional context (Edmondson, 2012b) that allows for the exploration of limits and doubts involved in knowing (Kramer, 1990; Meacham, 1990). Moreover, Erik Eriksons (1963) psychosocial stage theory of human development professes that successful passi ng through the process of life challenges and crises is mainly dependent on how and to w hat extent family members especially, parents or grandparents provide quality care, trust, comfort, security, belongingness,
32 and guidance to their descendants. In this r egard, family members can be wisdom role models for young children with long-lasting positi ve effects on offsprings acquisition of wisdom in their later years. In contrast, the absence of kin support during the formative years may make the development of wisdom more challenging. Second, for laypeople wisdom can be lear ned by maturing in cultural settings where social interactions with older generations play central roles over time to generate and facilitate wisdom-related experiences and k nowledge. That is, the development of wisdom is largely influenced by not only a certain personality makeup, such as the motivation to pursue efforts to gain insights into life, but also by having a wisdom role model to seek advice in deali ng with life vicissitudes over the life course (Edmonson, 2012a, 2012b). Staudinger & Baltes (1996) coined the te rm interactive minds that denotes the socialness of cognitive development and c ognitive behavior. They said, Interactive minds implies that the acquisi tion and manifestation of indi vidual cognitions influences and are influenced by cognitions of others and that reciprocal influences between minds contribute to the activation and modification of already available cognitions as well as to the generation (development) of new ones (Staudinger & Baltes, 1996, p. 746). Edmondson (2012b), however, ar gued that given the sociocultural nature of wisdom, a traditional person-centered paradigm (i.e., the earlier focus on cognition within the Berlin wisdom paradigm, even as part of interactive minds in Staudinger & Baltes, 1996) cannot be considered an optimal setting. Instead, the soci al-interactive nature of wisdom needs to involve prosocial behaviors and attitudes, which are displayed through helping, sharing, nurturing, encouraging, giving, etc. behaviors and compassionate
33 concern for others. In fact, much wisdom literature affirms that wisdom is manifested as other-oriented, which includes interpersonal qualities, such as advice seeking and advice giving (Bluck & Glck, 2005; Clayton & Birren, 1980; Holliday & Chandler, 1986; Sternberg, 1985). The acquisition of wisdom, in this regard, might be related to longlasting personal relationships between appr entice and mentor (Baltes & Staudinger, 1996). In most empirical studies, wisdom nominees seemed to be older (50s or above), and their age tended to increase with participant age (Orwoll & Perlmutter, 1990). In an empirical study, Perlmutter et al. (Perlmutter, Adams, Nyqui st, & Kaplan, 1988, as cited in Orwoll & Perlmutter, 1990) compared peoples (age ranges from 20 to 90) general beliefs about the characteristics of wis dom nominees in terms of age, gender, and education. Seventy-eight percent of the subjects thought that wisdom is related to age, 16% to gender, and 68% to education. These fi ndings indicate that people generally believe wisdom is more prevalent in older and more educated people but not limited to one particular gender. Another empirical study by Denney, De w, & Kroupa (1995) with 155 males and 233 females, aged 20-79 years, found that all participants tended to nominate individuals who were older than they were But there was a significant difference on wisdom nominees gender. When asked to r eport the areas in which their wisdom nominees were particularly wise, female nominees dominated in interpersonal skill areas, whereas male nominees were prevalent in specific skill areas (e.g., business or science). As Bluck and Glck (2005) succinctly argued referring to Orwoll and
34 Achenbaums original work (1993) on wisdom and gender, Women may be seen as more interpersonally wise and men mo re intellectually wise (p. 99). Wisdom and age Does wisdom increase with age? Wisdom is indeed a lifelong human developmental process as Kekes (1983) pinpointed by saying, one can be old and foolish, but a wise man is likely to be old, simply because such growth takes time (p. 286), More specifically, Erik H. Erikson ( 1982) identified wisdom as a virtue of the successful mastery of a life developmental task. He suggest ed that wisdom could arise during the eighth and final stage of psychos ocial development, which he characterized as ego integrity versus despair. Although he did not elaborate upon a definition of wisdom, he argued that if an individual had ac hieved enough ego integrity over the course of a lifetime, it would help him/her gain self-t ranscendence over imminent challenges especially during t he later years of life and thus obtain wisdom (Erikson, 1982). Erikson (1963)s psychosocial stage t heory of human development basically asserts that people experience eight psychosocial crisis stages that significantly affect each persons development. The eight crisis stages are a rranged by chronological age (from birth to age 50 and after age 50). The first psychosocial crisis is Trust vs. Mistrust. An infant will develop a healthy balance between trust and mistrust if he or she is fed and cared for. Abuse or neglect will destroy trus t and foster mistrust. Mistrust increases a persons resistance to exploration. The second crisis is Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. Autonomy means selfreliance. This is independence of thought and a basic confidence to think and act for oneself. Shame and Doubt can be easily underst ood in regard to toilet training as
35 described in Freuds psychosexual Anal st age during which parental reactions, encouragement, and patience play an important role in t he development of Autonomy. The next stage is Initiative vs. Guilt. Th is stage refers to the capability to devise actions or projects and a confidence and belief that it is OK to do so, even with a risk of making mistakes or failing. Again, parental reac tion is critical in the development of the balance in this crisis stage. Guilt result s from being admonished or believing that something is wrong or likely to be disappr oved by caregivers, usually parents. The fourth stage is Industry vs. Inferi ority, and this is the stage for the development of competence and skills, especially in school settings. A child who experiences the satisfaction of achievement will move toward successful negotiation of this crisis stage. Children who are denied op portunities to discover and develop their own self-competence may develop low self-est eem and lack of socialization as a result. Secured by self-competence and self-est eem, people are able to see themselves in interactions with others. The fifth stage, Identity vs. Role Confusion, coincides with puberty or adolescence. Young people often struggle to be accepted and affirmed while also becoming individuals. Role Confusion means that people cannot see clearly, or at all, who they are and how they can relate positively with their environment. When people reach adulthood, Intimacy vs. Isolation become s an important task to face. Intimacy means the process of achieving relationships with familyespecially marital or mating partner(s). The exchan ge of physical and emotional connection, support, love, trust, and other relational elements are associated with healthy adult relationships and, thus, development. Isol ation, on the other hand, means both being
36 excluded and feeling excluded from intimate relationships and experiencing lack of support and trust. It brings about feelings of loneliness, alienation, and social withdrawal. The next stage is Generativity vs. Stagnation. Erikson (1963) described Generativity as primarily the concern in establishing and guiding the next generation (p. 267). Generativity itself der ives from the word generati on. Parental love and care for offspring is characterized as unconditi onal giving, understanding, and caring. With decreased emphasis on self-interest, success ful passing of this stage mainly depends on giving and caring minds and behaviors for subsequent generations. Conversely, Stagnation occurs when the stage of Intimacy prolongs to the midlife period, resulting in feelings of selfishness and self-indulgence and lacking intere sts in others and the wider world. The eighth and final stage is Integrity vs. Despair. This is a life-review stage, reflecting ones choices, mistakes, achievem ents, and contributions to descendants and others. Integrity, according to Erikson ( 1963), means feeling at peace with oneself and the world. The linkage between the stages is perhaps clearer here than in previous stages. Feelings of wasted opportunities and r egrets are associated with Despair. This final stage is critical for its culmination of life outcomes, and it provides a powerful lens through which to review ones life. Vaillant (2002) compared the differenc e between Generativity and Integrity by saying, If care was to be the virtue of G enerativity, Erik Eriks on suggested that wisdom was the virtue of integrity (Vaillant, 2002, p. 49). Vaillant also quoted Eriksons insight on the characteristics of wisdom, saying, A s for the final streng th, wisdom, we have
37 formulated it thus: wisdom is det ached concern with life itself, in the face of death itself. It maintains and learns to convey integrity of experience in spite of the decline of bodily and mental function (Erikson et al., 1986, as cited by Vaillant, 2002, p. 49). It is interesting to notice that wisdom conc erns life by detaching se lf from life itself. Looking back at the adult devel opmental tasks and based on a clear self-identity to begin with, an individuals growth is only possible, according to Erikson (1982), by recognizing the importance of mutual inte rdependency, caring, and integrating minds. Otherwise, as Erikson argued, self-identity can be blinded and go astray (Identity vs. Role Confusion), intimacy can be one-sided and t hus lead to isolation (i.e., Intimacy vs. Isolation), and an individual may end up living in loss and despair during the final life stage (i.e., Integrity vs. Despair). Besides Eriksons psychosocial developm ental theory, much literature concurs that the various paths to wisdom across t he life course tend to be ignored (Sternberg, 2005). In other words, wisdom might develop differently for different people (Ardelt, 2011). Some people continue to develop until much later in their senior years, while others remain stable or even decline under ce rtain circumstances (Sternberg, 2005). Specifically, Staudingers (1999) early wo rk and Sternbergs (2005) review of the literature on the relationship between age and wisdom-related performance suggest that there are various theoretical trajectories of wisdom development with age. Their general views can be summarized as following: (1) wisdom continues to increase across the life span (similar to the positive model in Staudinger and the rec eived view in Sternberg), (2) wisdom decreases as one increases in adult age after an initial increase in youth and young adulthood (similar to th e decline model in Staudinger and the fluid model in
38 Sternberg), or (3) wisdom maintains itself from early adulthood into old age (similar to the crystallized model in both). This suggests that there might be mu ltiple life course factors influencing the trajectory of wisdom development, such as, social conditions (whether society promotes cognitive or in tegrative wisdom) and family relationships (where intergenerational transmissions of values, norms, and virtues happen). Jennifer Jordan (2005) argued that although the factors that might lead to increases in wisdom-related knowledge with increasing age in adolescence and young adulthood are well-studied (e.g., intelligence and personality traits, Staudinger, Lopez, & Baltes, 1997; moral reasoning, Pasupathi & Staudinger, 2001; personal training and practice, Baltes, Staudinger, Maerker, & Smith., 1995; Staudinger, Smith, & Baltes, 1992; Staudinger, Maciel, Smith, & Baltes, 1998; social interaction, Staudinger, 1996; Staudinger & Baltes, 1996; emotional conf idence and motivation, Kunzmann & Baltes, 2003) (see Kunzmann & Baltes, 2003 for the det ail), there is a dearth of studies on factors that might limit the growth of wisdom over the lifespan. She claimed that one of the social deterrent factors is the isolation of older people Modern societys tendency to isolate their elders decreases the chances for so cial interactions (similar to Staudingers interactive minds) and thus of gaining greater wisdom-related knowledge. In fact, it appears that the most impor tant building bloc ks for wisdom are emerging during adolescence and young adulthood (Richardson & Pasupathi, 2005). It is the period when personality traits and self-conceptions are established as prerequisites for the higher-level thinking as sociated with wisdom (Labouvie-Vief, 1990; Staudinger & Pasupathi, 2003) One of the quotes that Jordan used succinctly explained the relationship between wisdom and age: Wisdom doesnt automatically
39 come with old age. Nothing does-except wrin kles. Its true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the fi rst place (Abigail Van Buren, as cited by Jordan, 2005, p. 162). In short, in order to better understand the relation between wisdom and age, it is critical to investigate how the seeds of wisdom were planted upfront, from whom individuals seek guidance, and to what exte nt senior family members act as life consultants and wisdom facilitator s over the life course. Consequences of Wisdom Devel opment Wisdom and Well-being As wisdom is described as an ideal endpo int of human development (Staudinger & Glck, 2011), the relationship between wisdom and well-being is inseparable: In order to cultivate and encourage wisdom, there sh ould be a decent rationale why wisdom matters in the first place. Happiness and well-being depend not only on our external situations and relationships, but also on our attitudes (Russell, 1968). Similarly, wisdom lies not in what a person knows, but rat her in how the person uses the knowledge and experience (Holliday & C handler, 1986; Meacham, 1990). For example, Kunzmann and Baltes (2003, N =293) investigated three relationships between wisdom-related knowledge and value orientations. Wisdomrelated knowledge turned out to be positively related to ot her-enhancing values (i.e., values relating to the well-being of ot hers, societal engagement, and ecological protection) and self-enhancing values (i.e., orientation toward se lf-actualization and insight into life in general) at the same time. Also, wisdom-related knowledge was negatively associated with hedonistic values (e .g., materialistic and sensual). This finding corroborates the idea that wisdom in volves a joint orientation toward the
40 personal and the common good and in cludes a spiritual orientation that extends beyond ones own physical state (Kunz mann & Baltes, 2003, p. 1115). Similarly, Les (2011) empirical study with 123 European American communitydwelling adults ( M =64, Age Range =39-96, SD=12.5) showed that there was a consistent, positive association between life satisfaction and wisdo m, and the spiritual value orientations such as, openness and self-transcendence, were positively related to wisdom and life satisfaction among middle-aged and old adults. This finding has parallels with her previous study (Le, 2008) which showed that people who had selftranscending values and experiences via life crises and dilemmas were more likely to report higher level of personal satisfaction and growth. Yet, much of the empirical research i ndicates that the positive relationship between wisdom and well-being is only signi ficant if both compassionate and selfactualizing values are in place at the same time, incorporating cognitive, reflective, and motivational/affective components of wis dom (see reviews of Ardelt, 2011 and Staudinger & Glck, 2011). In an extensive review of the literature, Ardelt (2011) argued that the mixed empirical findings on the re lations between wisdom and well-being might be primarily due to the variance in the defin ition, operationalizati on, and measurement of wisdom and the characteristics of t he samples. However, the element of compassionate concern for ot hers seemed to play a signi ficant role in connecting wisdom and well-being (p. 284): It also appears that studies whose def inition and assessment of wisdom include the element of c ompassionate concern for others are more likely to find a significant association between wisdom and well-being than studies that primarily oper ationalize wisdom as a cognitive and/or reflective construct.
41 In a nutshell, knowing how to live a life that is good not only for oneself, but for others and for the whole society (Baltes & Staudinger, 2000; Csikszentmihalyi & Nakamura, 2004; Kramer, 2000; Pascual-Leone, 1990; Sternber g, 1998) should make wise individuals feel in contro l of their lives and be satisfi ed and content in place (Ardelt, 2011). The pursuit of contented and optimal livin g tends to function as our overall motivational device for wisdom development. Wisdom can help people to make better decisions, be resilient in times of hardship, and develop prosocial, empathic attitudes toward others. Thus, the wise person appreciates the limitations of knowledge, selftranscendent thinking, growing through loss a nd suffering, seeking advice, and learning from experiences and others (see Ardelt, Ac henbaum, & Oh, 2012, for the details on the paradoxical nature of wisdom).
42 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH OBJECTI VES AND HYPOTHESES The aforementioned research rationales and literature review invite four hypotheses under four specific research objectives as summarized below: Objective 1: To map out a typology of the dy namic ties of wisdom components based on wisdom scale scores as measured by the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (Ardelt, 2003), consisting of cognitive, reflective, and affective personality characteristics. Objective 2: To compare the wisdom groups for statistical differences in terms of general well-being, life satisf action, and age composition. H1: People in the triadic group will report significantly higher life satisfaction and subjective health status than peopl e in the non-triadic group (e.g., the isolated and null group). H2: The proportion of elderly people in the triadic group will be higher than that of young people compared to the proportion of elderly people in the lower wisdom-score groups, such as, the isolated and null groups. Objective 3: To find the key implicit wisdom characteristics defined by research participants wisdom narratives that distingui sh laypeople with high wisdom scale scores from those with low wisdom scores as m easured by the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (Ardelt, 2003), consisting of cogniti ve, reflective, and affective personality characteristics. H3 : People in the triadic group will name more altruistic, reciprocal wisdom characteristics as personal definiti on of wisdom, whereas people in other groups (e.g., in the isolated and null gr oups) will name more self-promoting, self-centered wisdom characteristics. H4: People in the triadic group will name more spiritual/religious characteristics as personal definition of wisdom than those in other groups (e.g., in the isolated and null groups ) who will report more cognitive-oriented wisdom characteristics, such as, ex cellence and mastery of knowledge or decision making.
43 Objective 4: To explore the life course factors among the wisdom score groups that aided individuals in becoming wiser over the life course. Research Questions: What does it take for laypeople to be wiser? That is, what are the characteristics of lif e stories, wisdom nominees, social supports, and subcultures that disti nguish the respondents in the triadic group from those in the non-triadic groups?
44 CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH DESIGN A ND DATA ANALYSIS Data Collection and Procedure All participants ( N =101) were recruited th rough convenience and snowball sampling, stratified by gender and age. Fifty one older adults (65 and older) were recruited from the community or retirement co mmunities. Fifty younger adults (age 2130) were recruited through graduate and undergr aduate university courses in the social sciences, but not in philosophy or theology. Participants were usually met for a single session lasting about 1-2 hours. If necessary follow-up interviews were conducted. Using a semi-structured interview gui de (adapted from Bluck and Glck, 2004; Appendix A), participants were first asked about their own lives, ideal exemplars of wisdom that they know in person, and personal wisdom experiences and definitions. Each semi-structured interview was audiotaped and then tran scribed verbatim. After the semi-structured interviews, a standardized survey was conducted. The questionnaire consisted of demographic items (Appendix B) and psychometric assessments of wisdom and qualit y of life, for example, Foundational Values Scale [FVS] (23 items, Jason et al., 2001) (Appendix C), 3-Dimensional Wisdom Scale [3DWS] (39 items, Ardel t, 2003) (Appendix D), Adult Self-Transcendence Inventory [ASTI] (14 items, Jennings et al., 2006; Levenson et al., 2005) (Appendix E), subjective health status (3 items, adapted from t he Older Americans Resources and Services [OARS] Multidimensional Functional Assessment Ques tionnaire, Fillenbaum & Duke University, 1988; and from the National Survey of the Aged, Shanas, 1982), and Satisfaction with Life Scale [SWLS] (5 items, Pavot & Diener, 1993) (Appendix F).
45 Measures Foundational Values Scale The FVS (Jason et al., 2001) was dev eloped from a wisdom study where researchers asked participants to name t he wisest living person that they know (whether they had met the person or not) and to provide an episode in which this person was shown to be wise. They also asked to describe how this person got to be wise and how he/she had affected or influenced the parti cipants life. From t he pool of answers, Jason and colleagues (2001) came up with the list of 23 wisdom attributes. This instrument uses a 5-poi nt Likert-type scale (1=not at all true, 2=rarely true, 3=about half-way true, 4=mostly true, 5= definitely true) for the two main theme questions; 1) how much is each of the following attributes true of yourself, 2) how much does each attribute [listed below] describe a person who has wisdom? I used the mean values of the latter theme for the com parison among wisdom score groups based on five subcategories (harmony, warmth, intelli gence, nature, spirit) from the list which were also indexed by Jason and colleagues (2001). In specific, harmony is defined as balanced and centered within and it incudes openness, capability to accommodate experiences positive self-esteem and self-love, gratitude and appreciations, appreciation for things as they are without embellishment, insight of meaning and purpose in life, exper iences an underlying unity in life, capacity to cope with uncertainty, and good judgment. Warmth contains pro-social behaviors and attitudes, such as, animation (rapture, joy, hope, and happiness), compassion and warmth for others, humor, being in the present, and kindne ss. Problem-solving ability and intelligence make the category of intelligence Nature includes flow (so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter), demonstration of a concern for the health
46 of the environment, childlike wonder and aw e, and reverence for nature. Lastly, spirit is associated with respectful and caring minds and attitudes towards spiritual and religious life (e.g., living a spiritual life and/or f eeling love, fellowship, or union with god). Cronbachs alpha for the overall 23 items was 0.87. Cronbachs alphas for the subtypes (i.e., harmony, warmth, intelligence, nature, and spirit ) ranged from 0.51 to 0.85 (0.74 for harmony and warmth, 0.51 for intelligenc e, 0.68 for nature, and 0.85 for spirit). Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale Ardelts (2003) 3D-WS was used to measur e three distinct factors of wisdom (cognition, affect, reflection). This instrument uses two five-point Likert-type scales, ranging either from 1 (strongly agree) th rough 5 (strongly disa gree) or from 1 (definitely true of myself) th rough 5 (not true of myself) in three dimensions (14 statements for cognition, 12 for reflection, and 13 for affect), and mean values of each and the mean of the 3 dimensio ns were used. All statements belonging to the cognitive dimension of wisdom connote opposing conc epts of wisdom, and thus a higher score assesses the ability and willingness to understand a situation or phenomenon thoroughly (e.g., It is better not to know too much about things that cannot be changed, I prefer just to let things happen ra ther than try to understand why they turned out that way. ), knowledge of the positive and neg ative aspects of human nature (People are either good or bad, You can classify almost a ll people as either honest or crooked. ), acknowledgement of ambiguity and uncertainty in life ( Life is basically the same most of the time .), and the ability to make impor tant decisions despite lifes uncertainties ( I am hesitant about making important decisions after thinking about them. ) (Ardelt, 2003).
47 Reflective items (e.g., Things often go wrong for me by no fault of my own , I sometimes find it difficult to see thi ngs from another persons point of view , When I look back on what has happened to me, I cant help feeling resentful.) measure the ability and willingness to look at phenomena and events from different perspectives and the absence of subjectivity and projections (Ardelt, 2003). Affective items assess the presence of positive, caring, and nurturing emotions and behavior toward others and the absence of negative or indifferent emoti ons and attitude toward others (e.g., I am annoyed by unhappy people who just feel sorry fo r themselves, Its not really my problem if others are in troubl e and need help, Im easily irritated by people who argue with me. ) (Ardelt, 2003). Cronbachs alpha for the overall wisdom scale was 0.71 (3 items; cognitive, reflective, and affectiv e dimension). The alphas for each wisdom dimension ranged from 0.71 (13 affective items) to 0.77 (14 cognitive items) (0.73 for 12 reflective items). The Adult Self-Transcendence Inventory Wisdom was also assessed with the Adul t Self-Transcendence Inventory (ASTI) (Levenson et al., 2005) (Appendix E). Unlike the ASTIs original 18 Likert-scaled items with a range from 1 ( disagree strongly ) to 4 ( agree strongly ), with the direction stating, We would like to know whether your view of life is different today than it was ten years ago (Jennings et al., 2006) (Levenson et al. s  original scale asked survey respondents to compare their views of life with those five years ago), the present study applied the present time perspective version for 14 Likert-scaled items with different 5 point answer categories ranging from 1 ( Definitely true of myself ) to 5 ( Not true of myself ).
48 More specifically, the instruction asked, How much are the following statements true of yourself? and the scale was re verse coded. Sample items include I often engage in quiet contemplation , I feel that my indi vidual life is a part of a greater whole, I am increasingly focused on the present, I feel a sense of belonging with both earlier and future generations, My peace of mind is not easily upset, My sense of well-being does not depend on a busy social life, and I feel compassionate even toward people who have been unkind to me . These ASTI subscales exhibi ted good internal validity ( = 0.74) with an overall mean score of 3.88 ( SD = 0.44). Subjective Health Status a nd Life Satisfaction Scale For the present study, subjective health mean score was obtained by taking three health-specific items from two different scales. Two items (i .e., How would you rate your overall health at the present time? and Is your health now better, about the same, or worse than it was one year ago?) we re adapted from the Older Americans Resources and Services [OARS] Mult idimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (Fillenbaum & Duke Universi ty, 1988). The other one item which asked How would you rate your overall health as compared to other people your age better, about the same, or worse? was taken from the National Survey of the Aged (Shanas, 1982). The first item which asked overall healt h at present used five-point Likert-type scale (1=excellent, 2=good, 3=fair, 4=poor, 5=very bad) unlike the other two items which used three-point scales (1=better, 2=a bout the same, 3=worse). This five point scale was converted into 3-point scale. All th e scores of three items were reverse-coded for better interpretation (i.e., the higher score of the scale, the better subjective health status). Cronbachs alpha for t he three items was 0.63.
49 The Life Satisfaction Scale [SWLS] is a short, 5-item inst rument (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=slightly disagree, 4=neither agree nor disagree, 5=slightly agree, 6=agree, 7=strongly agree ) that measures general subj ective judgments of ones lives (Pavot & Diener, 1993). Fo r example, the items include In most ways my life is close to my ideal, The conditi ons of my life are excellent, I am very satisfied with my life, So far, I have gotten the im portant things I want in life, If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing. The overa ll means of both scales were used for descriptive statistics for the present study. Cronbachs alpha for the five life satisfaction items was 0.82. Coding of subjectively defi ned wisdom characteristics In order to identify relational netwo rks of subjectively defined wisdom characteristics, the last par t of the transcribed wisdom inte rview was coded. The final question of the interview asked specifically about the respondents per sonal definition of wisdom. Using MAXQDA 10 (a qualitative data analysis software, Kuckartz, 2010), the coding of the personal wisdom definitions reported by the participants was done by following the codebook (Appendix G). The codebook is the uniform of codes after revisions and additions from coders meetings It contains the list of codes including wisdom characteristics based on the wisdom components (cognitive, reflective and affective), and the detailed coding manual wh ich consists of four parts: the code mnemonics, a brief/detailed definition, in clusion/exclusion cr iteria, and example passages that illustrate how the c ode concept appeared in natural language (MacQueen, McLellan, Kay, & Milstein, 1998). Regular coders meetings (usually consis ting of three or more professionally trained graduate students led by a primary in vestigator) provided an opportunity to
50 compare ideas on each code with actual interv iew data (especially texts that are coded differently by different coders) and thus to determine whether the inconsistencies were due to coder error, for instance, misunderst anding of terminology or guidelines, or to code definitions, e.g., overlappin g or ambiguous inclusion/exclus ion criteria that make it difficult to distinguish between two codes (MacQueen et al., 1998; Ryan & Bernard, 2003). These types of problems were discussed by the whole team. Once the problems were identified and the codebook was clarified by the primary investigator, all previously coded text was reviewed and, if necessary, recoded so that it became consistent with the revised definitions. Inter-coder agreem ent was again checked right away at the same meeting to ensure that the new guidelines had resolved the problem. This iterative coding process c ontinued until all text had bee n satisfactorily coded (MacQueen et al., 1998). Some of the text was coded by the aut hor alone for further elaboration. For example, the coding, Decision Making was originally defined in the coder meeting as a decision making despite lifes unpredictability and uncertainty. It was set apart into more detailed codes, such as Decision maki ng against odds and oppositions, Decision making to improve others lives, Decisi on making to improve your life, Decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life, and Decision making with divine guidance. The rationale of th is addition of new coding was that there appeared to be texts varying in the moti vation and purpose of decision making. More specifically, several respondents reported that wisdom is about making a decision based on knowledge and understanding of life. For instance, Lily (all names of the respondents are pseudonym hereafter), 69-yea r-old African American female, said,
51 Well for me, I say what was wisdom was to use my knowledge of the situation, to use my understanding of the situation and see what was the best thing that I could come up with to address it. A couple of others co mmented that decision making should be guided by gods principles. Angela (pseudony m), 75-year-old African American female, for instance reported that, We should decid e what we are going to do and what were not going to do based on what the world of god said we ought to do and we are not to do. Furthermore, while some respondents reported that wisdom is about decision making for their own benefits, some others perceived the impor tant role of decision making in wisdom for the purpose of compa ssionate concern for others. For instance, one respondent (Jack, age 24) reported, wisdom is knowing how to better your situation, analyzing all the exte rnal factors and just make the right decisions in your life Another participant, on the other hand, defined wisdom by saying that, Wisdom is what you can instill in others, as far as your life perspective, to make wise choices on like, make smart, beneficial decisions to furtherothers lives (Harry, 21-year-old college student). Also, since many texts emphasized a difference between knowledge and wisdom, the author added new codes, Different from knowledge and intelligence, and More than knowledge and common sense. For instance, several respondents reported that wisdom is not the same as knowledge or intelligence by saying, for example, that there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom for sure (Jason, age 23), I can read a whole bunch of books and that can give me intelligence, but that cant give me wisdom. To me wisdom is based on your life experience and its based on not what you
52 read about, but what decisions you make when youre faced with them (Stephanie, 26-year-old graduate student). A few respondents, on the ot her hand, perceived wisdom that is not simply different from knowled ge and intelligence, but bigger than knowledge and common sense. One said that Well, its not same as knowledge. It obviously goes beyond thatto me sensitivity is a very important part and you have to start with knowledge, and then from the knowledge I think to me wis dom means sensitivity to that knowledge, its beyond that, its beyond t he facts, its what to do wit h knowledge (Steve, 68-yearold college professor). Similarl y, another respondent reported t hat Its just more than knowledge and its more than comm on sense. Its having a perc eption of whats true or right about something and would extend beyond just the circumstances now and still hold true later on (Frank, retired photographer, age 65). Analysis Procedure This study used the concurrent triangu lation mixed-method design (Creswell & Plano, 2011; Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2011) to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative analyses of wisdom characteristics by using both types of data during the same phase of the research collection and anal ysis, and then interpret the two sets of results interchangeably (Creswell & Plano, 2011). MAXQDA 10, SPSS 18, and UCINET 6 (s ocial network analysis software, Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002) were used in collaboration with each other in order to (1) come up with extreme wisdom groups for in-depth comparisons, (2) compare differences and their significance in wellbeing variables (i.e., life satisfaction and subjective health), (3) draw relational networks among personal wisdom definitions (wisdom characteristics) according to the tri adic, dyadic, and isolated/null group, and (4)
53 conduct a content analysis of life course factor s that distinguish people in the triadic group from those in other groups. Phase 1: Mapping out the types of ties among wisdom components First, participants were selected into four different groups based on their average scores on each wisdom component (Table 5-1). Mo re specifically, if the average scores of each and every of the three wisdom components were higher or equal to an assigned upper threshold (i.e., 4 out of 5), respondents were categorized as the triadic group If the average scores of two wisdom component s were higher or equal to the upper threshold, while the third one was equal or lo wer than the lower threshold (i.e., 3.5 out of 5), they belonged to the dyadic group. Because the overall mean of the scale (M = 3.85, SD=0.37, N =101) was skewed upwards (although respondents did not know t hat they responded to a wisdom scale), 3.5 rather than the midpoint of the scale (i.e., point 3; neither agree nor disagree ) was chosen for a lower threshold. The isolated group included people whose average score in one wisdom component was equal to or higher than the upper threshold while the scores of the remaining two wisdom dimensions were equal to or lower than the lower threshold. People with all scores lower or equal to the lower threshold in any wisdom component were named as the null group Phase 2: Comparisons of wisdom groups in terms of general well-being and life satisfaction Considering the small size of the selected responde nts that comprised the extreme wisdom groups (28 interviews in total; 14 in the triadic, 7 in the dyadic, 3 in the isolated, and 4 in the null group), I used a nonparametric test methodology. More specifically, the Mann-Whitney U Test was conducted in SPSS 18 to test the difference
54 and its significance (median instead of m ean) between the two sets of wisdom comparison groups (the triadic vs. dyadic group, the triadic vs. isolated/null group) with regard to fundamental life values, wisdom scale scores, self-transcendence (ASTI) scores, demographic details, life satisfacti on, and subjective health. The bigger the difference of between the medians of the groups of interest and the smaller the value of the Mann-Whitney U score, the more likely that the medians of the two groups are statistically significantly different from each other. For demographic variables with categorical values, such as age group, gender, and marital status, the chi-square test (Fishers exact test for the sm all sample size) was used. Phase 3: Social network analysis of s ubjectively defined wisdom characteristics UCINET and MAXQDA software were used to come up with relational network graphs of the wisdom characteristics repor ted from the partici pants in each wisdom group. The matrix of codes from the interv iew manuscripts was first obtained by using Code Matrix Browser in MAXQDA. The func tion Code Matrix Browser is one of the mapping tools of MAXQDA, which offers a vis ualization (similar to an excel sheet) of the number of segments coded with each code for each document (VERBI Software, 2011). The obtained matrix was two-dimensiona l with two modes, since the columns represented a set of documents (given IDs of the activated respondents interview transcripts) and the rows had a set of coded wis dom characteristics. The term mode in social network analysis refers to a distinct set of entitie s (e.g., respondents and wisdom characteristics) on which the structural variables (e.g., centrality) are measured (Wasserman & Faust, 1994). Since the purpose of the present study was to investigate the network of connections between subjective ly defined wisdom characteristics, this
55 original two-mode data was imported into UCINET to transpose and change its original two-mode matrix to a one-mode matrix by using the Affiliation function in UCINET. The Affiliation tool is used when t he investigator want s to convert an m x n matrix to an m x m or n x n matrix ( m =the number of rows and n =the number of columns) by forming, for instance, AA or A A using two different types of binary multiplication. That is, given a binary incidence matrix A (e.g., 0 if a wisdom characteristic was not repor ted and 1 if mentioned among t he respondents of interest) where the rows represent research participants and the columns wisdom characteristics, the new affiliated matrix AA (respondents by respondents) gives the number of wisdom characterist ics that the respondents si multaneously reported. Thus AA (i,j) is the number of wisdom characterist ics reported by both respondent i and respondent j. The matrix A A (i,j) (wisdom characteristics by wisdom characteristics, made possible by Transpose), by contrast is the number of respondents who reported both wisdom characteristic i and wisdom characteristic j. The present study used the latter matrix (wisdom characteristics by wis dom characteristics) which represented the number of respondents who r eported a certain set of wisdom characteristics (see Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002 for furt her explanation of Affiliation). The affiliated, one-mode matrix has the sa me set of wisdom characteristics in both columns and rows. The matrix, then, was visualized by using NetDraw (graph visualization software, Borgatti, 2002) in UCINET to illustrate how the wisdom characteristics were clustered together, showing distinct similarities and/or differences among the respective wisdom score groups. The network graphs also showed how
56 different sets of wisdom char acteristics played central positions or brokerage roles in relation to other characteristics. Having a visual manuscript of dynamic relations of wisdom characteristics in the wisdom groups, I lastly conducted a centrality analysis by using UCINET, which provided centrality figures in Degree Centrality (measurement of the extent to which one wisdom characteristic co-occurred or recurr ed with other wisdom characteristics) and Betweenness Centrality (the extent to which one wisdom characteristic occupies the shortest distance between pairs of other wisdom characteristics, playing a bridge role) in order to identify main players am ong wisdom characteristics and compare the differences between the wisdom groups. Mapping of the network of connecti ons among wisdom characteristics The present study drew upon social network analysis method by applying graph theory (Wasserman & Faust, 1994), which can not only investigate social relations but account for other mutually interdependent relational dynamics, such as wisdom-related personality characteristics ( wisdom characteristics ) defined by laypeople. The visual representation of social network data that a graph offers can help uncover structural and functional patterns that might other wise go undetected (Moreno, 1934, 1946; Wasserman & Faust, 1994). More specifically, so cial network theory views relationships in terms of nodes and ties (Wasserman & F aust, 1994). Nodes consist in my case of wisdom characteristics, and ti es are the relationships among nodes, meaning the cooccurrences and recurrences of the wisdom c haracteristics in this study. Since people, in general, use multiple descriptors (wisdom characteristics) to define their own
57 perceptions of wisdom, the co-o ccurrences and recurrences of aracteristics can be displayed in a social network graph. As an example to explain the co-occurrence and recurrence of wisdom characteristics displayed in a graph, Figure 4-1 shows how three respondents (circles with pseudonymous ID numbers) in the tr iadic group described wisdom. The squares (including three diamonds) indicate wis dom characteristics that the respondents described (wisdom descriptors) to define their subjective perceptions of wisdom. The respondent (#2093) on the left side used 10 descriptors to define wisdom, such as insight, religious, spiritual, judgmental skill s, problem solving, knowledge books, selfreflection, understanding life, learning from experiences and knowledge experiential Another respondent (#2097) on t he top used 9 descriptors ( understanding self, mature, insight, knowledge of self, knowledge general, self-reflection, learning from experiences, understanding life and accepting). The third respondent (#2057) on the right used 11 descriptors (self-reflection, understanding life, lear ning from experiences, knowledge experiential, grateful, underst anding others, perspective taki ng, learning from others, subjective wellbeing, tolerance to others, and accepting ). This multiple usage of descriptors indicates the co-occurrence of wisdom characteristics that were reported by each respondent as his/her subjec tive perceptions of wisdom. The recurrence of wisdom characteristics refers to the over lapping descriptors located at the center in Figure 4-1 (i.e., self-reflection, learning from experiences, understanding life, a ccepting, insight, and knowledge experiential). These six descriptors were the only ones that were re ported either by all three respondents (i.e., self-reflection, understanding life and learning from experiences) or by two respondents
58 ( insight for #2097 and #2093, accepting for #2097 and #2057, and knowledge experiential for #2093 and #2057), respectively. The main purpose of applying social netwo rk analysis and graph theory to the present study was twofold: (1 ) To visualize the relational structure of wisdom characteristics reported by laypeople bas ed on the wisdom groups, and 2) to find and compare relational functions of wisdom characteristi cs among wisdom score groups (i.e., the triadic, dyadic, and isolated/nu ll group) by invest igating key wisdom characteristics that played central or br idging roles in peoples understandings of wisdom. More specifically, key wisdom characte ristics were identified through an analysis of their centrality roles am ong the entire set of coded wisdom characteristics by using UCINET (social network analysis software, Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002) and NetDraw (graph visualization software, Bor gatti, 2002). The NetDraw software helps to visualize social network dat a, managed and analyzed by UCINET, so as to identify the most important actors in a social network (Wasserman & Faust, 1994). Wisdom characteristics are considered mo st important or p rominent if their ties make them particularly visible to the other wisdom characteristics in the network (Wasserman & Faust, 1994). That is, prominent wisdom characteristics are those that have extensive relationships with other wisdom characteristics. Thus, I defined a central wisdom characteristic as one with t he highest frequency in co-occurrence and recurrence, i.e., a wisdom characteristic that had the most ties to other wisdom characteristics in the network or graph ( Degree centrality ) (Wasserman & Faust, 1994).
59 Another way to identify a key wisdom char acteristic is to assess the degree to which a characteristic is located between t he others, playing a bridge role connecting other pairs of wisdom characteristics ( Betweenness centrality ), such as the six overlapping wisdom characteristics ment ioned above in reference to Figure 4-1 (Wasserman & Faust, 1994). Applied to the present study, the important idea of Betweenness centrality here is that a wisdom characterist ic is central if it lies between other wisdom characteristics on their shortest paths (geodesics), implying that to have a large Betweenness Centrality the wisdom characteristic must be between many of other wisdom characteristics via thei r geodesics (Wasserman & Faust, 1994). More specifically, Figure 4-2 shows rela tional networks of wis dom characteristics from the three exemplary res pondents referred in Figure 4-1. The size of the nodes in the graphs (A and B) indicates the Degree and Betweenness Centrality scores, respectively, loaded from a result of UCINET centrality analysis ( Centrality degree and Betweenness degree respectively) (see Wasserm an & Faust, 1994 for detailed explanations including formulae). As explained above, the three overlapping wisdom characteristics (i.e., selfreflection learning from experiences and understanding life ) were the most prominent (overlapping) ones denoted by the biggest size s, followed by the other three wisdom characteristics ( knowledge experiential, accepting and insight ) of which each pair of two respondents used to define wisdom. It indica tes that they were the most frequently reported wisdom characteristics by the st udy participants. Thus, they had the highest Degree Centrality scores with the most ties to other wisdom characteristics.
60 In the first graph (A), there were seven different sets of nodes in terms of size. For instance, the three biggest nodes in the middle (i.e., self-reflection understanding life, and learning from experiences ) had the same size since t hey came from all three respondents. However, since the number (cooccurrence) of wisdom characteristics named by each respondent differed (i.e., 10 nodes by respondent #2093, 9 nodes by respondent #2097, and 11 nodes by respondent #2057, Figure 4-1), the node sizes of knowledge experiential ( recurrence in #2093 and #2097 ), insight ( in #2093 and #2097) and accepting ( in #2097 and #2057 ) also differed. That is, the size of the node knowledge experiential was larger than those of the other two nodes ( insight and accepting), because it came from the two bigger wisdom characteristic networks of respondents #2093 and #2097 with higher co-occurrences (10 and 11 nodes, respectively). Likewise, the size of accepting was bigger than insight since the former reoccurred in respondents #2097 (9 nodes) and #2057 (11 nodes), whereas the latter came from respondents #2097 (9 nodes) and #2093 (10 nodes). For the same reason, all other sets of wisdom characteristics in Graph A in Figure 4-2 had different node sizes, depending to which wisdom characteristic network they belonged (e.g., the size of Learning from others is bigger than the size of mature, since the former came from a network consisting of 11 nodes, while the latte r came from a network with 9 nodes). The second graph (B) shows the same rela tional networks as the first graph but the size indicates Betweenness Centrality scores instead of Degree Centrality scores. Similar to the Degree graph (A), the Be tweenness graph (B) had three main wisdom characteristics ( self-reflection understanding life and learning from experiences ) in the middle, followed by the other three characteristics (knowledge experiential accepting
61 and insight ). Since the three sample participants used multiple descriptors to define wisdom and only six of the wis dom characteristics were overlapping each other, it makes sense that the overl apping wisdom characteristics played the most prominent roles with the highest frequency and connectiv ity in co-occurrence and recurrence of wisdom characteristics. Similar to Graph A explained above, the reason why the node size of knowledge experiential was bigger than those of accepting and insight was because the former connected two relatively bigger wisdom characteristic networks (10 + 11 nodes), while accepting (9 + 11) and insight (9 + 10) connected relatively smaller wisdom characteristic networks. Unlike in Graph A, however, the size of all other nodes in Graph B was the same, because they did not play a bridge role for other nodes (wisdom characteristics). Phase 4: Analysis of Qualitative Wisdom Interview Manuscripts to Explore the Life Course Factors By using MAXQDA 10, the coding followe d the order of the interview questions according to thematic coding strategies for exploring various life course factors that separated people with higher wisdom scores from those with lower scores. Adapted from Bluck and Glck (2004), the thematic c oding covered life stories, personal wisdom definitions, wisdom nominees (e.g., kin me mbers and nonkin member s), important life events, personal wisdom experiences, and subcultural features (e.g., spirituality or religiousness). Thematic coding is consider ed the most effective method for making large qualitative data sets more manageable, for either c ontent or thematic analysis (Namy, Guest, Thairu, & Johnson, 2007).
62 More specifically, I applied the within -theme approach (Ryan & Bernard, 2003) for the present study by focusing on a specific theme first, such as personal definitions of wisdom, which was also used for t he social network analysis of wisdom characteristics. With a bette r understanding of this theme, I then expanded the scope of the investigation to other themes, for instance, ideal exemplars of wisdom that respondents knew in person and the reasons for the respondents nom ination of those persons. This use of withinand between-th eme analysis (Ryan & Bernard, 2003) was critical for the present study to investigate the dynamics in the relations of life course factors, such as, peoples social netwo rk nodes (e.g., kin members and nonkin members as wisdom nominees) and their s ubjective perception of wisdom. The first in-depth content analysis was done with an interview transcript from the triadic wisdom group. The text was divide d based on the themes explained above and coded accordingly. That is, the answer fo r a question asking personal definition of wisdom was first coded ( personal definit ion of wisdom ) and analyzed as part of a within-theme approach, followed by coding and analysis of other themes, such as, personal wisdom experiences significant life events and personal wisdom nominees For instance, if a respondent nom inated his/her kin member (e.g ., mother or grandfather) as the wisest person that he/she knows in person, it was coded mother or grandfather under a code of kin member which also belonged to the category of personal wisdom nominees, which itself included a code of nonkin member as well. The lines which explained the reasons for this nom ination were then coded under the why category, which included the same set of wisdom characteristics obtained from the higher category of personal definit ion of wisdom
63 The findings from this content analysis of the first case in the triadic wisdom group served to build a tentativ e theory of interest as an analytic induction strategy (Katz, 2001). More specifically, other ca ses in the same triadic group were then introduced to confirm or modify the pre liminary theory. Subs equently, the common characteristics of the life course factors explored through these case analyses were investigated further to see if and in which way they were different from those in the other wisdom groups (i.e., the dyadic an d the isolated/nu ll groups).
64 Figure 4-1 An example of the co-occurrence and recurrence of subjectively defined wisdom characteristics (based on thr ee respondents in the Triadic Group) Note: Three circles refer to three respondents. Squares are codes based on the three respondents subjective perceptions of wisdom Three diamonds at the center indicate that they are used by all three respondents to describe their subjective definition of wisdom.
65 Figure 4-2. How to measure key wisdom char acteristics? A) Degree Centrality. B) Betweenness Centrality. The size of nodes refers to Degree/Betweenness Centrality score. A B
66 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS Wisdom Groups Table 5-1 shows the four types of rela tional ties among the wisdom components (measured by Ardelts 3D-WS scale) with cut-o ff points 4 for an upper threshold and 3.5 for a lower threshold. The results show ed that 28 out of 101 participants could be grouped into those categories: The triadic group included 14 people whose wisdom scale (i.e., 3D-WS) scores in every wis dom component (cognitive, reflective, and affective) were equal to or higher than 4 on average. There were 7 people in the dyadic group and 4 of them had wisdom scores equal to or higher than 4 on average in both cognitive and reflective dimensions while lower than or equal to 3.5 in the affective dimension. Two other people surpassed the upper threshold (4) in both cognitive and affective dimensions while the score of t he reflective dimension was below the lower threshold (3.5). Only one person in the dyadi c group had higher scores in the reflective and affective dimensions with lower than or equal to 3.5 mean score in the cognitive dimension. The isolated group had 3 people who belonged to each wisdom dimension respectively. For instance, there was one person whose mean score in the wisdom scale was equal to or higher than 4 in the cognition dimension and lower than or equal to 3.5 in the other two dimensions. Another one had a higher score (above or equal to 4 on average) in the reflective dimension with lower scores (equal to or below 3.5) on average in the other two dim ensions. The third person had a mean scale score of equal to or higher than 4 in the affective dimensi on with lower or equal to 3.5 in the other two
67 dimensions. There were 4 people whose wisdom scale scores were lower than or equal to 3.5 on average in each and every wisdom dimension. There was a high level of internal cons istency for the wisdom scale with this specific sub-sample: Cronbachs alphas for the whole sample ( N =28) for the multiple wisdom scale items (i.e., 14 items for the cogni tive dimension, 12 for the reflective, and 13 for the affective) ranged fr om 0.846 to 0.866. Cronbachs alpha of the overall three wisdom dimensions (cognitive, reflec tive, and affective) was 0.812. Descriptive Characteristics Table 5-2 shows the descriptive statistics of the triadic, dyadi c, and isolated/null combined group in terms of life satisfaction, subjective health, FVS wisdom subscales (harmony, warmth, intelligence, nature, and spirit), 3D-WS dimensions (cognitive, reflective and affective), self-transcendence (ASTI), socio-demographic factors (e.g., the number of older adults, females, marital status, and education year), spirituality, religiousness, and interview duration. A Mann-Whitney U test showed that the tr iadic group reported significantly higher median life satisfaction ( Median = 6.0) than the isolated/null group ( Median = 4.2, U = 18.0, p < 0.05). Subjective health in the triadic group ( Median = 2.5) was also significantly higher than in the isolated/null group ( Median = 1.83, U = 14.5, p<0.01 ). There was no significant median difference in life satisfaction and subjective health between the triadic and dyadic groups. The triadic group considered warmth ( Median = 4.60, U = 18.0, p<0.05) as characteristic of a wise person more than the dyadic and isolated/null groups, but there was no significant difference between the gr oups on the other subscales of the FVS. That is, all groups considered harmony, intelligence, and concern for nature as
68 characteristics of wise individuals, wher eas spiritualty was less endorsed as a characteristic of wisdom. Not surprisingly, the triadic group scored significantly higher on all 3D-WS dimensions than the dyadic and isolated/null groups with the exception of the equal medians of the triadic and dyadic group in the cogniti ve dimension. The self-transcendence score of the triadic group ( Median = 4.36) was significantly higher than in the dyadic and isolated/null groups ( Medians = 3.86/3.71, Us = 15.0/7.0; p < 0.05/0.01, respectively), indi cating that respondents who scored relatively high in all three wisdom dimensions (cognitive, reflective, and affective) were more likely to report an ability to move bey ond a self-centered perspective than those respondents in the other two groups. Older participants accounted for a major portion of the triadic group (71%), whereas they were only 43% in the dyadic group and 14% in the isolated/null group. The difference in the proportion of older participants between the triadic and the isolated/null groups turned out to be statistically significant (= 6.109, p < 0.05). Half of the triadic group was female ( N =7) and two out of seven in the dyadic group were females. Although not shown in Table 5-2, t he isolated group consisted of females only, whereas the entire null group was comprised of males. Half of th e triadic group was married, whereas there were only 3 marri ed people in the entire non-triadic group (the dyadic and isolated/null group), where the majority was never married (= 6.109, p < 0.05 for the group comparison between the triadic and the isolated/null group). Education year was not significantly diffe rent across the groups (higher than collegeeducation).
69 The triadic group scored significantly hi gher on spirituality than the dyadic group ( Medians = 7.75/4.00, U = 21.5, p<0.05), while their spirituality did not significantly differ from the isolated/nul l group. No significant difference was found in religiousness between the triadic and the ot her two groups. Interview dur ation for the triadic group was significantly longer than for the isolated/null group ( Medians =69/43, U = 12.0, p<0.01 ) but not significantly longer than for the dyadic group. Personal Wisdom Characteristics Table 5-3 shows personal definitions of wisdom grouped by three wisdom dimensions (cognitive, reflective, and affe ctive) and their statistical comparisons between the triadic, dyadic, and isolated/null groups. The codes were alphabetized with a cut-off frequency of 1 for all three wisdom groups. This means that all codes in Table 5-3 were mentioned by at least one partici pant in the three groups. The frequency was based on how many participants reported a cert ain wisdom characteristic. For example, according to Table 5-3, the code, learning from experiences was mentioned by 8 out of 14 respondents in the triadic group. Table 5-3 gives a snapshot of which char acteristics were more or less salient (prominent) than others across the wisdom groups For the triadic group, for instance, learning from experiences was the most frequently report ed characteristic, followed by prosocial behaviors (defined as prosocial behaviors to ward others, such as altruism, helping, caring, nurturing, encouraging, fostering, giving, and sharing), knowledge experiential, understanding life, open, learning from others, perspective taking, insight, understanding others, accepting, religious, self-reflection etc. On the other hand, the dyadic group reported more than knowledge and co mmon sense, equanimity, knowledge experiential, perspective taki ng, understanding others, decision making in
70 combination with knowledge and understanding of life, mature, etc The isolated/null group mentioned knowing how to improve your situat ion, decision making to improve your life, different from knowledge and intelligence, learning from experiences, etc. The triadic group defined wisdom with mo re inclusive, multidimensional personality characteristics encompassing not only cognitive, reflective, and affective wisdom dimensions, but also religious and spiritual traits, such as prosocial behaviors, understanding life, openmindedness, learning from others, perspective taking, understanding others, a ccepting, religious, self-refl ection, decision making in combination with kno wledge and experience, decision making with divine guidance, and tolerance of others. By contrast, none of the peopl e in the isolated and null groups recognized these characteristics as import ant. Rather, the isolat ed/null group reported somewhat ego-centric and self-e mpowering personality traits: knowing how to improve your situation (reported by 3 people) and decision making to improve your life (reported by 2 people). Besides the frequency-based group comparisons, Table 5-3 shows the results of chi-square tests which were used to determine the statistical difference in occurrence of wisdom characteristics between the thr ee wisdom groups (Triadic Group [TG] vs. Dyadic Group [DG], Triadic Group [T G] vs. Isolated/ Null Group [ING]). More than knowledge and common sense and equanimity were the wisdom char acteristics that the dyadic group mentioned, but no one in the triadic group, and the group difference was statistically significant ( = 7.000/4.421, p < 0.05, respectively). By contrast, eight out of 14 respondents in the triadic group mentioned learning from experiences, whereas there was only one person in the dyadic group who used that characteristic and the
71 difference with the dyadic gr oup was significantly differ ent at the margin of p < 0.1 ( = 3.5). Distinct differences in wisdom characteri stics existed between the triadic and the isolated/null groups. Knowing how to improve your situation and decision making to improve your life (= 7.000/4.421, p < 0.01/0.05, respectively) were mentioned only by the isolated/null group s, while none in the triadic group used to define wisdom in this way. The triadic group, instead, was ment ioning significantly different from the isolated/null group in mentioning prosocial behaviors (= 3.281, p < 0.1). Wisdom Characteristics Networks Figures 5-1, 5-2, and 5-3 are relational network graphs of wisdom characteristics for the triadic, dyadic, and is olated/null group, respectively. These network diagrams portray the central characte ristics that each wisdom group mentioned most frequently and concurrently and, thus, they lead to centrality (a measure of how network structure and position contributes to a nodes im portance, Hanneman & Riddle, 2005) comparisons to confirm the different orientations and stances toward wisdom development. The size of the node represents the Degree Centrality (A) and Betweenness Centrality (B) scores, respectively. For the triadic group (Figure 5-1), the st ructure of the graph appears to be more cohesive and condensed than t hose of the dyadic and isolat ed/null groups (Figure 5-2 and 5-3). All the codes (wisdom characteristics) were clustered in a single component. A component of a graph refers to a path between all pairs of nodes in the sub-graph. That is, if there is a single component, it m eans all pairs of nodes are connected to each other (Wasserman & Foust, 1994) unlike Fi gure 5-2, which has two separate components. Among others, learning from experiences in the upper graph (A) is located
72 at the center of the graph with highest Degree Centrality indicating it was the most mentioned wisdom characterist ic among people in the tr iadic group, followed by knowledge experiential, perspective taki ng, open, prosocial behaviors, understanding life, self-reflection, religious, and understanding others. Overall, the wisdom characteristics cluster ed in the middle of the graph show that the triadic group reported characteristics that encompass all three wisdom dimensions (i.e., cognitive, reflective, and affective). More specifically cognitive characteristics, such as, knowledge general, problem solving, understanding life, and understanding others were located at the center inte rconnected to reflective (e.g., perspective taking, advice giving skills, accepting, learning from others, learning from experience, tolerance of others, and self-reflection ) and affective wisdom characteristics (e.g., prosocial behaviors). In addition, spiritual and religious wisdom characteristics (e.g., religious, spiritual, and grateful ) also took central pos itions in the graph. The Betweenness centrality graph (B) in Fi gure 5-1 shows the central role of learning from experiences It signifies the importance of the reflective dimension of wisdom in that otherwise s eparated wisdom characteristics (such as cognitive and affective characteristics) were connected vi a consistent efforts to learn from prior experiences, including mistakes and mishaps in the past. Moreover, coping attributes (e.g., coping, facing challenges, resilient ) that were located on the outskirts of the graph, because only one person in this group mentioned this, were closely associated with prosocial behaviors, decision making wit h divine guidance, perspective taking, knowledge experiential, understanding others, and openness to experience suggesting how hardship in life and successful coping could evolve into a broader life perspective,
73 spirituality, and wis dom. Similarly, religious and decision making with divine guidance, were adjacent to prosocial behaviors, problem so lving, knowledge experiential, righteousness, nonjudgmental, forgiving, and prosocial attitudes (defined as attitudes toward other beings with loving, compassionate, sympathetic, emphatic, and benign minds, see Appendix G). Figure 5-2 shows the relational networ k graphs of the dyadic group. Each Degree (A) and Betweenness (B) graph had two separate clusters (components), indicating there was no wisdom characteristic that could have connected one component to the other. The two clusters represent the two diffe rent dyads, that is, cognitive + reflective and affective + reflective on the left side, and the other dyad (i.e., cognitive + affective) on the right. More specifically, on the left, more than knowledge and common sense was positioned at the center adjacent to understanding others decision making in combination with knowled ge and understanding of life, and perspective taking On the other side of the graph, knowledge experiential and mature were at the center associated with several other characteristics, such as older, advice giving skills, prosocial behaviors, decision ma king for common goods and larger society, persevering, equanimity, and thinking things through. The Betweenness centrality graph (B) in Figure 5-2 shows that more than knowledge and common sense had the highest Betweenness score in the left component. In the other component on the right, knowledge experiential had the highest controlling power connecting a set of codes, such as, equanimity, persevering, and thinking things through to the other set of codes that include mature, older, advice giving skills, prosocial behaviors, and decision making for common goods and larger society
74 Especially, affective characteristics, such as prosocial behaviors were connected to cognitive characteristics, such as, knowledge experiential only through mature, which is defined as an attribute that characterizes a per son as sensible, reliable, integrated, selfactualized, discreet, responsible, and/or hav ing self-control (Appen dix G). There were no reflective characteristics in the component on the right. The density of the network of the isol ated/null group (Figure 5-3) seemed much lower than the network of the triadic group with new ego-centric attributes, such as knowing how to improve your situation and decision making to improve your life. Especially knowing how to improve your situation had the greatest Degree score even higher than learning from experiences. Considering the two topscored characteristics, the respondents with lower wisdom scores (i.e., the isolated and null group) reported learning from experiences and knowing how to impr ove your situation more frequently than they mentioned ot her wisdom characteristics. Furthermore, decision making to improve your life and logical mind was located in between the top-scored pair of wisdom characteristics, implying a potential purpose of learning from experiences, which is to better ones own situation and wellbeing rather than others or society at large. The Betweenness centrality graph (B) in Figure 5-3 shows the controlling power of the two top-scored wis dom characteristics, learning from experiences and knowing how to improve your situation First and foremost, learning from experiences had the highest Betweenness score, playing a bridge role by linking a chunk of attributes (e.g., psychological wellbeing, resilient, different from knowledge and intelligence, application of human growth process, and accumulation of all factors) to the other group of selfcentered, cognition-related attributes (e.g., knowing how to improv e your situation,
75 decision making to improve your life, logical mind, advice giving skills, and problem solving ). On the other hand, knowing how to improve your situation had the second greatest controlling power in t hat set of codes, so that mature, insight, and more than knowledge and common sense were connected to other wisdom characteristics only through knowing how to impr ove your situation Furthermore, decision making to improve others lives could be connected to learning from experiences only via either decision making to improve your life or knowing how to improve your situation Unlike the network of the triadi c group, the isolated/null group network did not have any spiritual and only a few prosocia l-related characteristics. Considering the findings from the Betw eenness centrality analysis, it might be reasonable to argue that for respondents with lower wisdom scores (i.e., the isolated/null group), reflective wis dom characteristics, such as learning from experiences, tend to be associated with more egocent ric, self-promoting characteristics than prosocial characteristics, such as decision making to improve others lives and advice giving skills By contrast, for respondents with higher wisdom scores (i.e., the triadic group) (Fi gure 5-1, graph B), learning from experiences was critical in their understanding of wisdom: It helped them to reflect on their past experiences and memories to engage in conscious, mindful liv ing not only for themselves, but also to take account of the needs of others and society. Wisdom and Life Course Factors So far, the present st udy investigated how res pondents who were grouped based on their wisdom scale scores, as measured by the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (Ardelt, 2003), understood wisdom differently what the key implicit wisdom characteristics in each group were, and how and to what extent the groups differed with
76 regard to their life satisfaction and subjective health status. We now turn to answer such research questions as What does it take fo r laypeople to be wiser? and What are the characteristics of the life stories, wisdom nominees, soci al supports, and subcultures that distinguish respondents in the high wis dom group from those in the low groups? Thematic coding and analytic induction were us ed to explore the life course factors that aided the respondents in becoming wiser over the life course. The Seed of Wisdom: Types an d Functions of Family Support All fourteen triadic gr oup respondents (all the nam es are pseudonyms) had stable upbringings with solid family supports For example, Lora (21-year-old white college student), Stephanie (26-year-old wh ite graduate student), and Greg (78-year-old Jewish male) labeled family as a major factor that helped them to become who they were now by saying, I have a really large extended family on my dads side, and so they always were around [me] growing up, and we did a lot of family activities and holidays and all sorts of stuff together. So that was a major part of me growing up as, I guess, in my family. (Lora) We always get together with dads fam ily, and thats where the family holidays and gathering always happen, and thats with dads side of the family, and so he always tries really hard to make sure that those relationships are maintained. He make s sure that people are going to see grandma and all that. So I think I learned early on about the importance of having a relationship with your extended family. (Stephanie) Father [was] a poultry inspector, and I used to go with him and collect eggs for the whole familyThe whole family used to come over on Saturday and get their eggs, [including] all my aunts and uncles. He had 5 siblings within a few blocks of us except one. So I had a lot of support there, and I tell you, I had a pretty happy childhood. (Greg) As the quotes above show, their childhood memories consisted of close contact with parents and/or extensive kin members who resided t ogether or nearby, sharing family activities for multiple years. Furthermore, regardle ss of age, gender, and ethnicity,
77 family members who were committed to prov iding support and care for the respondents in their childhood years seemed to function as role models for the respondents. Stephanie, for instance, who said that her parents had a huge influence on her, especially during her early year s, was appreciative of the fact that her parents had stayed committed to each other for a long time, Im lucky that my parents have stayed together for so long and have always had what Ive seen as a very positive relationship. Theyve always communicated really well with each ot herthey continue to this day to show affection to each other and they hug and they kiss, and they talk about how they love each other andI just think I got to see that modeled (Stephanie) Also, Angela, a 75-year-old African Am erican female, reported that she had a wonderful upbringing thanks to her caring parent s who instilled the value of education and resilience into her early in life. She said, I had a wonderful upbringing. I guess Im going around and around in circlesI never knew my father. But he [stepfather] was a wonderful father. He was just a wonderful man and for ten years it was just my dad, my mom and me [until her sister wa s born]. It was her mother who, according to Angela, encouraged her to keep staying in school. She said, Their [her friends] father farmed and they [her friends] had to hel p gather the vegetables or if they didnt, the other kids would to earn some money, but she [mot her] stressed getting a good education. The fact that she went only to the fifth grade made her realize how important it was to get a good education The respondents were able to interact with their families and kin members on a regular basis for years, and those adult fam ily members played an important role as advice givers by sharing their experiences and compassionate life styles. The lessons
78 learned from the kin members, in turn, helped the respondents early on to establish good moral values and optimal ways of living. For instance, Lora who nominated her grandmother as the wisest person she knew, narrated, Ive known her [grandmother] so long and over the years shes giving me such good advice and always has very interesting stories about people and things and events in her life that it makes me really respect the way she thinks and the way she lives her life and that sort of thing. (Lora) Stephanies parents taught her gender equality, the value of family, and how a family can function better. She said, I think the main thing was what I learned from my parents about being a feminist and also what I learned from my parents about a family and what a family is supposed to be and what a family is supposed to do, and I think those are the things that continue to af fect me today that I can remember as far as my earliest kind of memories. (Stephanie) Lily (69-year-old African American i mmigrant), who grew up in St. James, Jamaica, as the last child of a family of eleven children, pointed out the positive influences she was able to receiv e from her supportive family, I was blessed from that perspective [g rowing up in a large family] and that I had good, loving, supportive family, one who established values early and sharing what we had and loved and supported each other. And that essentially, you know, establishes y our focus on life, and the way you look at life, and the way you see life, and your expectations for life. (Lily) Even in the few cases of parental divorc e, alternative social support networks existed, such as a mother and other ext ensive kin members (e.g., grandparents and other relatives) who stepped in and helped to establish and develop a sense of self and belongingness. For instance, Robert (23-yea r-old White male) had an alcoholic father and his parents ended up in divorce. However, Robert said that his mother stepped up and gave him a better environment to grow up in:
79 My father was an alcoholic, divorce. Ho wever, it wasnt a really negative thing for meat the time it was worse than neutral just because I didnt want to see my parents brake up. But it wasnt completely negative, because my mom would be able to get out of it better than if she had a suppressive husband. (Robert) When Andy (64-year-old African Amer ican college professor) was around 11 years old, he had a difficult time upon hi s parents divorce and his maternal grandparents stepped in. Andy had had a close relationship with his grandparents since his earlier years. He remember ed his grandparents by saying, Grandfather had a fourth grade education but was curious. He read a lot. He put things in perspective, gave advice, helpful kind of advice that will keep me from making wrong decisions (Andy) In fact, it was his maternal grandparent s caring minds and supportive attitudes that he valued more than his paternal grand fathers material wealth. He said, My fathers father was far more successf ul when you look at material things in a senseBut he didnt have the material things in life that my maternal grandfather had and both expected their children to do well. But my maternal grandfather was far more su ccessful in terms of his childrenI love my grandmother to death because of the love that she had for us (Andy) By contrast, 3 out of 4 respondents in the null group reported that their parents were divorced in their early years of life, r anging from 5-11, especially with absent father figures since then. Interestingly, the timi ng (during the formative years) and place (growing up with multiple siblings with fat her absent) after the parents divorce seemed to make the null group respondents gr ow up early with the burden of becoming independent prematurely. For instance, Harry (21-year-old college student) remembered his parents got divorced when he was 11 years old and characterized the effect of this traumatic event on him, saying, I grew up faster t hat way with my dad out
80 of the house and the only male being in my relationship was him, but he was still far away from me. Similarly, Jack (a 24-year-old male worki ng in a field of customer service), whose parents divorced when he was five or six, had to grow up with 7 other siblings. His take on his fathers absence during his childhood was, I never had a father to instill values in meabsence of a father and a family is kind of like going into a gun fight with a knife, like, you are just not having a father. He labeled his experience growing up without a father as significant with a huge impact on hi s well-being by saying, Probably the only significant thing that came out of that [growing up in a fam ily of 7 siblings without a father early on] is not rea lly the need, but the necessity to become independent at an extremely early age. He em phasized the importance of hav ing a guide and mentor in life that he missed wh ile growing up, If youre a kid you should have somebody in your life that tries to, you know, show you the right path and tries to, you know, help you out when they can and tries to, like, benefit you. You shoul dnt have to just go through life as a little toddler, you know,like nobody. (Jack) This statement demonstrates that without confirmation and support from social networks, especially early in life, it is diffi culty to develop a healthy sense of self. Rather, a pressure to take care of other sibl ings and thus become independent prematurely without a guide and mentor in early life is probably negatively associated with the development of wisdom. Among the three respondents in the is olated group, Brianna (28-year-old graduate student with wisdom scale mean scores of 4.14, 3.25, and 3.0 on cognitive, reflective, and affective dimension, res pectively: Respondents wisdom scale mean scores hereafter are in this order) repor ted that she had a good childhood in general.
81 However, she did not define the family re lations as healthy. She described how her parents relationship affected negativ ely on her general mood in life, We had a good life like, you know, we had a good family life, but it wasnt necessarily healthy, like, family life they [parents] struggled a lotI dont think he [father] was ready to, I dont k now, push himself aside as a father a lot of the timeHe ended up having several affairs, which later came out to, you know, with the family, and those really came out when I was a sophomore in college actually, and one had come out previously when I was actually just getting into high school. (Brianna) The other two respondents in the isol ated group did not mention about their relationship with parents at all. Chloe, fo r instance, who is a 25-year-old graduate student with wisdom scale mean scores of 3.43 (cognitive), 4.0 (reflective), and 2.77(affective), reported that a decision to go to the Universi ty of Florida was her most significant event. Moreover, she nominated her academic advisor at UF with no specific story to back up why she chose the advisor as the wisest person she knew in person. Other than that, she did not repor t any story with her parents. Similarly, Liz (a 21-year-o ld college student with wisdom scores of 2.93, 3.0, and 4.08) wasnt reporting any occasions she shared with her parents while growing up. Instead, she mentioned that she had her first baby girl at t he age of 19, and it, according to her, had turned her life around for increasing responsibility to take care of her baby. She said, At the age of 19 I had my first ba by, a baby girl and she really, like, turned my life around too because now I see that life isnt just about me. I have someone else that Im responsible for. This compassionat e view of life might explain why her wisdom scale mean score in the affective dimensio n was the only one that was higher than the threshold ( M >= 4), while the scores in the other two wisdom dimensions were lower than the threshold (i.e., M <= 3.5).
82 The dyadic group respondents told mixed st ories about the relations with their family members. Their reports varied, rangi ng from having no comments at all about the kin members to having parents with strong religious doctri ne, in divorce in their childhood, and even as wisdom nominees. More detailed information was reported in the following sub-sections under more relevant themes. Lessons learned early on Unlike the respondents in the triadi c wisdom group who learned early on about optimal functioning and the value of family and social relation ships from attentive, caring kin members, the respondents in the null wisdom group (and some in the other groups), who were all males, lacked social support net works during their formative years, which could have implanted a sense of being accepted, respected, and nurtured. Instead, they had to find a way to empower themselves early on to ready themselves for independent, yet tough living. More specifically, it was all the male respondents in the null group, old and young alike, who reported the necessity of being independent extremely ear ly in their lives after the divorce of their par ents. They also happened to be either the only son or the oldest one in a family with a single mother and multiple siblings (especially sisters). These were people whose subjective perceptions of wisdom were predominantly ego-centric, self-empowering attributes, such as knowing how to improve your situations and decision making to improve your life Frank, who was a 65-year-old retired cinematographer and also had one of the lowest wisdom scale scores, especially in the affective dimension ( M = 2.69; 3.38 in cognitive and 3.17 in reflective), defined the relationship between life adversity and wis dom development by saying,
83 Because under adversity, if youre going to survive, you have to think for yourself more and figure things out for yourself and make a goal and get to it. (Frank) For the persons with lower wisdom scores, wisdom also appeared to evolve in the process of trying to make themselves be tter via obtaining cognitive prerequisites for the development of wisdom, such as having a logical mind and mastery of knowledge. Furthermore, a reflective wisdom-related attribute, learning from experiences and mistakes in the past, seemed to be connected closely with those cognitive wisdom characteristics, indicating its association wi th independent, self-promo ting life principles developed early on during t heir formative years. Similar to the center role in the null gr oup, this reflective wisdom characteristic learning from experiences turned out to be the most fr equently mentioned attribute in the triadic group. In this group, however, other wisdom characteristics that were mentioned concurrently with this core wisdom trait were very different from the ones in the null group. One noticeable fi nding in the triadic group wa s that groups of cognitive, affective, and reflective wisdom characteristics clustered around this reflective item. First, knowledge experiential and understanding lif e and others (cognitive) were listed frequently along with such reflective characteristics as learning from experiences and others, open-mindedness, perspective taking, consci ous, mindful living, self-reflection, and tolerance of others and affective characteristics, such as prosocial attitudes and behaviors For example, Crystal (a 78-year-old re tired teacher, in the triadic group with wisdom scale mean scores of 4.71, 4.50, and 4.62), who was raised by supportive parents along with two other siblings, had extensively traveled and summarized her significant memories that helped her make t he person she was now, I just had a lot of
84 opportunities and I had a lot of chances to fail. She reasoned that her personal wellbeing and wisdom came from having a soli d family, and growing up with nurturing feelings of acceptance early on. Her parent s were willing to provide her plentiful chances to explore the world and to make sure that it was ok ay to fail, allowing her to learn from her mistakes. I think that wisdom comes from y our own experiences, watching other people and then thinking about it, you see. You can experience a lot of things, like Ive traveled extensiv ely. When I go home I do a lot of reflectingThe more you understand things and look around you, the more intuitive you are. You get more out of life, because you can relate to people better or successfully. You can enjoy who they are or arent. You know, theres a great deal to be said to accepting everybody. (Crystal) The respondents in the triadic group put great emphasis on the affective value of prosocial attitudes and behaviors as important wisdom characteri stics. In fact, a strong relationship appeared to exist between the presence of supportive kin members during the formative years and the development of af fective wisdom characteristics later on. For instance, Lora (a 21-year-old Asian college student with wisdom scale scores of 4.42, 4.00, and 4.16), w ho grew up in a very supporti ve extended family, defined her wisdom by saying, To me, wisdom is knowledge and being able to communicate that knowledge in a way that you can help so meone else in their situation, not necessarily directly by telling them what to do, but by giving them your experiences in a way that may be applic able to their life in some way or another. (Lora) In particular, the caring minds of parents and grandparents were demonstrated through their solid communication and listening skills. Loras mother, for instance, was a good communicator and listener in an unobtrusive and inoffensive fashion: Shes wise because shes always kind of giving me the opportunity to be who I would like to be. Shes never, you know, forced me or pushed me. She supported me in whatever I decided to do. But shes never forward and
85 said like you should go here or you s hould go there or you should do this program or you should do that progra m, and so shes just always been very supportive and never too involved in my lifeSo she definitely helped me develop into who I am in terms of my independence and my ability to just be who I am without having too mu ch influence from her. (Lora) For Lora, a more attentive, yet less intrusive manner of communication with her mother seemed to help her to be appr eciative and competent in life. Unlike the triadic group respondents who recognized the importance of the affective dimension of wisdom, the respondent s in the dyadic group, especially with a lower mean score only in the affective di mension than the threshold, showed what prevented the development of an affectiv e mind, while endorsing cognitive and reflective wisdom characteristics. For ex ample, George, a 21-y ear-old college student with wisdom scale mean scores of 4.64 (cogniti ve), 4.17 (reflective), and 2.85 (affective), had no problems nominating his grandfather as the wisest per son for his presence and guiding role. He said, I think of him, because I would go to him if I had any problems, if I need good adviceHes definitely approachable, but it has something to do with him having the ability to keep an open mind. Hes just able tolook at something through a different frame or anything. Hes able to look at it real broad and just to provide insight that I probably wouldnt have seen. Hes able to look at all the information of the whole situation and come up with things I wouldnt have seen. (G eorge, in the dyadic group) Despite the presence of his grandfather in close proximity during his upbringing, it was George who had to play a mediati ng role between two families and provide a guiding role for his younger sister during hi s parents divorce and remarriages. He said, my parents are divorced and my little sister and I have always lived together, and we always went back and forthI mean, I can think of a hundred times where I felt like I was bei ng wise. When it came to being the mediator between the two families, a lot of times, things would happen on one side that would affect the other side, and I would need, I guess, to be the intelligent person or the unbiased person. I guess, you could say to look at the situation and try to provide so me wisdom for my sister, which is
86 normally the case. My parents would fi ght, the two separate families would fight a lot of times, and I would find my sister and I am, kind of, in the middle, and I would have to, kind of, guide her. (George) The positions George had to take in his early years as a mediator and a guide forced him to become aware of the importance of knowledge and intelligence. That is, it was imperative for George to constantly analyze family situat ions and watch out for his younger sister. Thus, developing knowledge a nd intelligence was needed for him to be an unbiased, practical person. This might expl ain why his mean score in the cognitive wisdom dimension ( M = 4.64) was one of the highest in the sample, while the mean in the affective dimension ( M = 2.85) was one of the lowest. Wisdom and Subculture Another example of the effects of fa mily environments and conditions during childhood on subjective perceptions of wisdom later in life can be found in the subcultures the respondents grew up in. For in stance, Stephanie (in the triadic group) chose the fact that her parents were active feminists as one of the significant events that had a tremendous influence on her life traj ectory and understanding of wisdom (e.g., being brave and living consciously ). Her parents strong commitment to each other and their beliefs in family values nurtured her well enough to feel appreciated and privileged. She said, I learned from my parents about a fa mily and what a family is supposed to be and what a family is supposed to do, and I think those are the things that continue to affect me todayso many of my parents friends, for whatever reason, didnt stay toget her, and I feel really privileged and lucky to be able to have seen what a working relationship looked likethey are just really great parent s and are very committed. (Stephanie) In Rachels case (in the triadic group), the very liberal environment she grew up in had extensive effects on her wisdom definitions, emphasizing such broad-minded
87 wisdom characteristics as open-mindedness perspective taking, being tolerant, and nonjudgmental. In her narrative, for instance, she sa id, Wisdom, I think, is offered as a possible way to think about things based on ones own experience, but not necessarily the only way. She remembered her childhood culture as follows: My family had very little, probably mate rially, but they were intellectually very curious and politically interested and involved, and that, I think, had a great influence on me over the course of my life. My parents friends tended to be very liberal. Many of them were social workers. My dad was the union organizer, so it was kind of a natural affiliation. I think that had a great influence over time in terms of w ho I became and what interested me and my value system. So again, not very well materially, but there was always good, stimulating conversation and peopl e that I liked, and they probably ultimately influenced my professional choice. (Rachel, 66-year-old Jewish female) Religious family background was also a notic eable subculture. Lily (a 69-year-old African American immigrant, in the triadic gr oup), as cited above, grew up in a large family of eleven children. Her parents were very religious which, according to her, helped her establish good moral values in life early on. She remembered growing up with lots of readings, playing games, and listening to stories read by her parents as her most important memories. She associated he r early religious culture with her personal definition of wisdom by saying, I think, personally, for whatever knowl edge I had, its come from that early training. The good book [bible] tells you that you should get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Each day I would pray for that For me, I think wisdom is seeking in ev ery way you can to do the will of god, to follow his words, and to make effort to live by that guidance, because everything that we do, every decision t hat we make on a daily basis [should] incorporate gods word and gods thinking. How would god want me to do this? Every question that we ask is ans wered in the bible, everything, and so you become involved with gods word. You become directed by gods word, driven by god word, and seeking to interpret everything in the right way. (Lily)
88 The effect of a religious family subcultu re also runs parallel with the positive relation between a solid upbringing in a very supportive, nurturing family and the development of affective wisdom characteristi cs later in life. Nancy (83-year-old African American female, in the triadic group) report ed that her mother was a devoted Christian who would read the bible every morning and say prayers with a positive outlook on life despite the hardships she experienced. Na ncy remembered her mother as caring and loving, not only to her childr en but also to others under the guidance of a supreme lord. Nancys definition of wisdom consisted of having a holistic sense of helping people, having faith despite obstacles, and sharing knowledge with other s in the name of Jesus She said, Whatever you are going through, he [God] also gives you the strength, sense of him, faith in him, and knowled ge in him, and thats my wisdom. However, for those respondents who becam e atheists, especially in the dyadic group, a religious family subculture was not related to the developm ent of the affective dimension of wisdom. Out of 7 dyadic gr oup respondents, 4 had higher wisdom scale scores than the threshold in the cognitive a nd reflective dimensions and not in the affective dimension. Tom (a 22-year-old atheist) was one of them who had a lower mean score ( M = 3.38) than the thres hold in the affective di mension, while he scored 4.5 and 4.0 on the cognitive and reflective dimensions, respectively. He was raised in an evangelical conservative home and disliked this socio-religious setting, saying, I imagine one of the most impor tant things about my life was my breaking away from, from that sort of socio-religious c ontext going to Christian school from 6th grade through 12th grade.
89 His questioning of his religious tradition put a strain on his relationship with his parents, which was the main reason why he became an atheist later. He said, Oh, yeah. Its like, you know, you start to ask your parents what they think about this stuff, and they give you the typical answers, like, its all part of gods plan. Like, you know, I might a sk, you know, why did god even create the world. It seems, sort of, arrogant and, kind of, self-serving to create this race of people to, like, love and serve him, when theres no real purpose for us to accept to do that, like, what do you guys think about that? And theyd just be like, well, you know, we cant say what the real purpose is. We just got to wait and Im sure god will let us know, and it will all be good, and its like, kind of, like, creepy, sort of, utopi an longing for, just, knowing theyre convinced that thats how things are, and it was very frustrating. So as those conversations went on, it ju st became more and more intense. Thered be fighting and things like that when I was in high school, I didnt want to go to church anymore, which was a big no, no. So Id still go with them until I was 18 and I stopped going and, yeah, I mean, it puts a lot of strain on the relationship to, kind of, reject that, and I wa s more than willing to let them believe what they wanted, but their, kind of, pushing it on me made me really abrasive to any sort of religious conversations with them. For Tom, judgmental skills with critical mind, as he described in his definition of wisdom, was a more important wisdom attri bute than just settling for answers based on a religious doctrine. He mentioned, I th ink that it was a good idea to throw off the dogmatic Christianity, of courseThat was defin itely something I think was wise to do. Role Models of Wisdom: Providi ng Advice, Support, and Guidance All respondents in both the triadic and the other groups could name a wisdom nominee that they knew in person with a wide variety of types of relations, ranging from kin members to nonkin acquaintances. However, there was a very significant contextual difference in terms of how and to what extent people exhibited confidence or lack thereof in the process of nomination. Mo re specifically, unlike the triadic group respondents, all respondents in the null group had a difficult time, frequently with long pauses, when they thought about the wisest pers on in their personal lives. Frank (in the null group), for instance, said,
90 I have to think about that (long pause). I just cant think. What makes a person wise, you know, to influence m e? [I am] Trying to think who has been a mentor or who had given me good advice, who set a good example I just draw a blank. Maybe I ll think of one later. (Frank) Furthermore, the wisdom nominees whom the respondents were finally able to point out lacked long-term direct interact ions with the nominators, who had few memories of doing activities and spending time together during their formative years. Jason (23-year-old college student, in the null group), for example, who said he did not have any significant life events, let alone si gnificant family mem bers in his childhood, expressed hesitancy when nominating his fat her by saying, (long pause) I guess I have to say my father. Later, he switched to his grandmother as a new wisdom nominee by saying, I kind of thought too quickly with my parents. Screw them (laughter). Yet, his relationship with his grandmother was not t he strongest. He nominated her simply for the fact that she was a holocaust survivor, as he said, granted there is wisdom in there. The respondents in the dyadic and isol ated groups did not seem to have a difficult time with nominating the wisest persons that they knew. However, the nominees wisdom characteristics and wisdom nominees relationship with the respondents varied. George (in the dyadic group with lower mean score only in the affective dimension than the lower threshold), for instance, named hi s grandfather as the wisest person for his interpersonal and advice giving skills, prosocial behavior, open-mindedness, and experiential knowledge, which showed the three wisdom dimensions. By contrast, affective attributes were lacking in Toms (in the dyadic group with the same lower mean score only in the affective dimension as t he case of George) wisdom nominee, who was his former philosophy professor. His wis dom nominee was reasoned as the wisest person for his excellent cr itical thinking skills and mastery of knowledge.
91 Moreover, Brianna (in the is olated group with a high score only in the cognitive wisdom dimension) nominated her friend as t he wisest person for her friends insight, understanding others, in telligence, learning from exper iences, and self-reflection. Her grandfather was the wisest person for Liz (in the isolated group with a high score only in the affective wisdom dimension), because he possessed experiential knowledge, perseverance, advice giving skills, and prosocial behavior and attitude. Although both the wisdom nominees of Brianna and Liz appear to possess all the three dimensional wisdom characteristics (i.e., cognitive, refl ective, and affective), the nominees wisdom characteristics do not seem to be strongl y related with the nominators wisdom scale scores. Unlike the wisdom nominees of the res pondents in the dyadic, isolated, and null group, however, the wisdom nominees of the tr iadic group, whether kin or nonkin (half of their wisdom nominees turned out to be n onkin members), had a significant impact on the nominators development of wisdom and well-being. All kin nominees (i.e., mother, father, grandmother, gr andfather, husband, and wife) were appreciated for their presence, their nurturing and caring minds and their practical and psychological supports. All nonkin nominees (e.g., academic advisor, teacher, spiritual leader, coworker, boss, acquaintances from fundraisi ng events, and friend) were characterized by prosocial attitudes and behaviors as well as excellency in cognitive and reflective wisdom characteristics. Robert (23-year-old White male, in the triadic group) nominated one of his previous teachers, giving the following reasons: He was the wisest, because he had an understanding of the family of human kind than anybody else I have ever seen, and he was able to express that with more passion and more drive than I have ever seen anybody able to do thatSo its not what you know, but its how you
92 promote it, how you go about doing it. Its your personal style. Its taking the information and making it your own and contributing to the world through your own eyes with that knowledge. Also, beyond that he was extremely tolerant. He was very tolerant of all races, all ethnicities, all sexual orient ations, all social classes, and when I say tolerant, I mean this is the type of person he was portraying himself as to the students. (Robert) The affective characteristics were even more salient for Nancys (83-year-old African American female, in the triadic group) wisdom nominee who was, according to her, a spiritual leader and mentor. She ex plained why she considered him to be the wisest person: I would say the first thi ng that came to mind was his loving nature. In his presence, you felt you were an important person and that you were truly loved. You felt like you were unders tood with the questions that you were asking. He would answer questions, like, without hesitation. It would just flow out, and the answer would be ju st the one I needed to hear whether I liked it or not, but I knew thats w hat I needed to hear in order to improve my life and my consciousness. (Nancy) In the entire triadic group, wisdom nomi nees were most frequently characterized by prosocial behaviors followed by insight, understanding of life, interpersonal skills, maturity, and decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life These central traits of wisdom nominees seemed to continue to influence the respondents current views of self, family, and society. A couple of examples are as follows: I see myself as being more like my grandfather. My mate rnal grandfather. Well, I probably am more like him in a sense, you know, Im laidback, he was, you know, Im forthcoming, you know. I have really close friends. I make people feel comfortable around meyeah, I see myself being more like him yeah. Its probably genetic t oo, you know. I spent summers with him up until twelve(Andy) He [a spiritual leader] helped me to know, truly know who I am beyond me. He helped me choose. I always wanted to help people, and he helped me go to a deeper level of wanting to love being loving and caring, and yet, to
93 use my intelligence and my learning to help others. He used to say, make life worth living, while Im living it. He showed me how to care what it was and taught me and had us reading to make life worth living, to serve. (Nancy) Hes [a teacher while Robert was att ending Ohio University] affected me and inspired me by giving me a drive fo r information that I never wouldve had. Its a drive that I pl ace not myself in the c enter of it, but I place everyone else in the center of it. T hats why I aspire to be a sociologist, because Im not a selfish individual and Im not going to put myself at the center that Im studying, but at th e same time, he kind of gave me, showed me that you can take that emotion and passion thats within you, and if you target it in a correct way, it can be very beneficial. (Robert) Nancys quote above appears to explai n an optimal purpose for developing intelligence (cognitive dimension of wisdom) and learning from others or experiences (reflective dimension of wisdom); to help other s. The affective dimension of wisdom that her wisdom nominee (a spiritual leader) taught her helped her to make her life worth living while loving others. In a similar vein, Andys maternal grandfather and Roberts teacher at Ohio University both instilled t he virtue of concern for others as a component of wisdom development. The Mind of Wisdom: Human Agency, Cr itical Thinking, and Learning from Experiences and Knowledge Wisdom development requires that one ta kes advantage of life experiences and knowledge. Hence, human agency plays an important role in the process of the development of wisdom. The respondents throughout the wisdom groups mentioned the importance of critical thinking and learning from experiences and knowledge. As Robert and Stephanie, both in the tri adic group, succinctly claimed, wisdom is a proactive life style rather than an idle status. Success is 90 percent style, ten percent knowledge. So its not what you know, but its how you promote it, how you go about doing it. Its your personal style, its taking the information and making it yours and
94 contributing to the world through your own eyes with that knowledge. (Robert). I dont think [wisdom] is something that everyone acquires through experience. I think you have to also have conscious living. I dont know if thats mindfulness. I dont know what the right way to say it would be, but to have wisdom you have to live your life in a conscious way. I think my boyfriends grandmother is, I guess, my second biggest example of wisdom, because shes an old lady that just has been through so many different things, and not only does she have lots of life experiences, she has aimed to learn from each one and I think thats wisdom. (Stephanie) For Jessica (in the triadic group), critica l thinking referred to the discipline of taking time to examine a situation critically before taking action. She said, A critical thinker uses observation and objectivity to come up with a response to something, while a person prone to knee-jerk reactions tends to react emotionally and subjectively to a situation or problem. Cryst al (in the triadic group) concurred, Thinking through problems before reacting impulsively is the opposite of a knee-jerk reaction. The respondents in the dyadic and isol ated wisdom groups also acknowledged the importance of critical minds and l earning from experiences and knowledge. For example, George (a 24-year-old graduate student, in the dyadic group with only the affective dimension scored lower than the lower threshold) defined wisdom as the combination of intelligence and experience, and emphasized that wisdom is more than knowledge and common sense. He said, Y ou can be intelligent and be knowledgeable, but a wise person is someone who is able to use that intelligence. Noah (a 68-year-old Jewish, in the dy adic group, also, with only the affective dimension scored lower than the lower thres hold) mentioned that wisdom is different from knowledge and, in fact, is more t han knowledge. Wisdom, according to him, requires sensitivity to learn from knowledge and experiences, to make decisions in
95 combination with knowled ge and understanding of life, and to be aware of the consequences of ones decisions. He said, Its not the same as knowledge. It obvious ly goes beyond that. I think I have used the word sensitivity a couple of ti mes. To me sensitivity is a very important part and you have to start wit h knowledge. You have to start with knowledge and then from the knowled ge, I think to me, wisdom means sensitivity to that knowledge. Its bey ond that. That, to me, is the broader part of wisdom. There are a lot of smart people around who I dont regard as very wise, but they have knowledge, but theyre not very sensitive. When I say sensitive, I mean theyre not sensit ive to the results of their decisions. They sound very good to them at the moment, but theyre not sensitive to third parties or what they may be a w eek or two weeks or a year from now. Its a decision that is sensitive to ramifications. (Noah) Furthermore, all three isolate respondents recognized the importance of learning from experiences. For instance, Brianna ( with a high score only in the cognitive dimension) said, I think that wisdom, generally, is being able to recognize the importance and the significance in ones life and bei ng able to take those experience, and, you know, make them valid lessons in a sense, and I think that beyond that a person who can look at ot her peoples experiences and actually internalize the lessons l earned, you know(Brianna) Chloe (with a high score only in the refl ective dimension) and Liz (with a high score only in the affective dimension) al so reported the val ue of learning from experiences as a wisdom characteristic by saying, Taking life experiences and things y ouve learned and to base your actions off of that(Chloe) As a child, I thought I knew everythi ng, and I wasnt really taking in everything that my grandfather [her wisdom nominee] was saying, but now, Ive grown up, and I can see what he was telling me then. It was very wise information that I shouldve took in because I felt like if I used the information back then, I would be a mu ch better person than I am today. (Liz) However, there seemed to be a discrepanc y in the isolate respondents between simply knowing the importance of reflective wisdom characteristics (e.g., learning from
96 experiences) and putting them into action in daily life. More specifically, in addition to growing up with a lack of solid family s upport and long-term relationships, relatively recent occurrences of stressful or life changi ng events (e.g., parents divorce or giving a birth at the age of 19) seem ed to influence the isolated respondents to value wisdom in a skewed way. In a nutshell, despite the overall recogni tion of the important value of critical thinking and mindful, conscious living throughout the wisdom groups, the reflective and affective dimensions of wisdom seemed to be required, especially for the triadic group respondents, in order for human agency to transform life experiences and knowledge into active learning and an enlightening and mindful life style. Stephanies narrative showed this association: Its based on not what you read about, but what decisions you make when youre faced with them, not what you think about, but what you do about, how you act those, how do you do those, and how do you make your decisions, and what do you say every day, and what do you live as important, you know, every day, what is your goal for the day, what are you trying to get into the world, what are y ou trying to do for society. I just think living consciouslyis the way for me to acquire wisdom. (Stephanie) Furthermore, being sensitive to what you are learning, to the environment, and to other people, as Jessica (78-year-old widow, in the triadic group) said, would create an accepting tolerant attitude toward thi ngs, not being locked into a time warp or thought warp. To be able to accept new ideas, to grow to be able to trans fer some of that to younger people, to teach relationships and respect relationships, and kind of my spirituality is person to person, and thats what I try do to (Jessica). Regardless of which wisdom group the respondents belonged to, people recognized the important role of human agency, which takes charge of critical thinking
97 and proactive learning from experiences and knowledge. A critical factor that differentiated the triadic group from the other groups, however, was in how and to what extent the respondents were able to transfo rm the knowledge into active learning and an enlightening life style, which is a pr erequisite for the development of wisdom. This capacity to put thoughts and theories into action in daily living did not develop in a social vacuum. Nurturi ng environment and cultur e during the childhood years with strong social support networks, the presence of wisdom nominees with balanced wisdom characteristics, includi ng compassionate concern for others, and wisdom-promoting subcultures were critical life course factors for the development of wisdom. More specifically, the presence of nur turing social support networks in close proximity for multiple years, especially in childhood, helped the respondents mature with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Wisdom nominees were also critical, because they played an important role as advice givers and mentors by sharing their moral values, experiences, and compassionate life styles. This strong so cial support network, including wisdom nominees, provided plentiful oppor tunities to explore the worl d and assure that it was okay to fail. Social support, in turn, helped the respondents to learn from mistakes and become mature over the life course. When social support networks and wisdom role models were lacking during the early years, mainly due to parents divorce and family conflict, the respondents with the lowest wisdom scale scores had to deal with premature responsibilities and roles, which resulted in an early independence prematurely for personal security and success later on.
98 Another important life course factor to consider was the effect of the subculture the respondents grew up in. A liberal environ ment affected the development of such broad-minded wisdom characteristics as open-mindedness, perspective taking, being tolerant, and nonjudgmental. A re ligious family background t ended to promote affective wisdom characteristics by emphasizing loving and caring for others. Yet, being exposed to a religious subculture during childhood did not automatically foster the development of affective wisdom characteristics. Only respondents who accepted and adopted the religious beliefs of their parents as valuabl e and beneficial, profited from them in their development of wisdom.
99 Table 5-1 Typology of the types of composit ional relations of wisdom with cut-off points Cognitive Reflective Affective Total N / The Null Ties ( N =4) <=3.5 <=3.5 <=3.5 4 The Isolated Ties (N =3) Cognitive >=4 <=3.5 <=3.5 1 Reflective <=3.5 >=4 <=3.5 1 Affective <=3.5 <=3.5 >=4 1 The Dyadic Ties ( N =7) Cognitive + Reflective >=4 >=4 <=3.5 4 Cognitive + Affective >=4 <=3.5 >=4 2 Reflective + Affective <=3.5 >=4 >=4 1 The Triadic Ties ( N =14) Cognitive + Reflective + Affective >=4 >=4 >=4 14 Levels for the Whole Sample ( N =28) .866 (14 items) .846 (12 items) .853 (13 items) .812 (3 items) N : number of people, = Cronbachs Alpha
100 Table 5-2 Descriptive statistics and group differences between the Triadic vs. Dyadic and the Triadic vs. Isolated/Null Groups Triadic (N =14) Dyadic (N =7) Isolated & Null ( N =7) TG vs. DG TG vs. ING Median Median Median M-Whiney U (Z )a M-Whiney U (Z )a Life Satisfaction 6.00 5.80 4.20 33.5 (1.17) 18.0 (2.36)* Subjective Health 2.50 2.50 1.83 38.5 (.82) 14.5 (2.63)** FVS Wisdom 4.35 3.91 4.17 25.5 (1.76) 33 (1.20) Harmony 4.78 4.22 4.67 29.0 (1.51) 40.0 (.68) Warmth 4.60 3.80 4.00 18.0 (2.34)* 22.5 (1.83) Intelligence 4.17 4.00 4.33 39.5 (.73) 48.5 (.04) Nature 4.00 3.75 3.25 46.0 (.23) 33.5 (1.17) Spirit 3.25 2.00 3.00 28.5 (1.57) 44.0 (.39) 3D-WS 4.34 3.96 3.16 .00 (3.66)*** .00 (3.66)*** Cognitive 4.43 4.43 3.07 36.5 (.94) 2.5 (3.48)*** Reflective 4.42 4.17 3.25 10.5 (2.90)** .00 (3.68)*** Affective 4.23 3.50 2.92 18.0 (2.33)* 3.5 (3.41)*** Self-Transcendence 4.36 3.86 3.71 15.0 (2.54)* 7.0 (3.14)** Socio Demographics N (%) N (%) N (%) Elderly 10 (71%) 3 (43%) 1 (14%) 1.615 6.109* Female 7 (50%) 2 (29%) 3 (43%) 0.875 0.095 Marital Status Never married 4 (29%) 4 (57%) 6 (86%) 1.615 6.109* Married 7 (50%) 2 (29%) 1 (14%) 0.875 2.524 Widowed 2 (14%) 1 (14%) 0 0 1.105 Divorced 1 (7%) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Median Median Median M-Whiney U (Z )a M-Whiney U (Z )a Education Years 18.35 17.50 17 38.5 (.79) 33.5 (1.16) Spirituality 7.75 4.00 6.00 21.5 (2.06)* 33.0 (1.20) Religiousness 1.50 3.00 6.00 45.5 (-0.27) 32.5 (-1.24) Interview Durationb 69 54 43 37.0 (.90) 12.0 (2.76)** Note: N= number, TG =Triadic Group, DG = Dyadic Group, ING = Isolated + Null Group, Z =z-score, = chi-square. a Significance (2-tailed). b Interview Duration in minutes p <.1, p < .05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001
101 Table 5-3. Wisdom characteristics and their statistical comparisons among the Triadic, Dyadic, and Isolated & Null Group Triadic (N =14) Dyadic (N =7) Isolated & Null ( N =7) Chi-square (sig.) Wisdom Characteristics % (n) % (n) % (n) TG vs. DG TG vs. ING Cognitive Wisdom Characteristics Decision making 0 14.3 (1) 0 2.1 0 Decision making against odds and oppositions 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Decision making for common goods and larger society 0 14.3 (1) 0 2.1 0 Decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life 14.3 (2) 28.6 (2) 0 0.618 1.105 Decision making to improve your life 0 0 28.6 (2) 0 4.421* Decision making to improve others' lives 0 14.3 (1) 14.3 (1) 2.1 2.1 Decision making with divine guidance 14.3 (2) 0 0 1.105 1.105 Knowing how to improve your situation 0 0 42.9 (3) 0 7.000** Knowledge experiential 35.7 (5) 28.6 (2) 14.3 (1) 0.107 1.05 knowledge of self 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Knowledge books 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Knowledge general 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Limits of knowledge 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Logical mind 0 0 14.3 (1) 0 2.1 Problem solving 14.3 (2) 0 14.3 (1) 1.105 0 Seeing through illusions 14.3 (2) 0 0 1.105 1.105 Understanding self 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Understanding life 28.6 (4) 0 0 2.471 2.471 Understanding others 21.4 (3) 28.6 (2) 0 0.131 1.75 Reflective Wisdom Characteristics Advice giving skills 14.3 (2) 14.3 (1) 14.3 (1) 0 0 Judgment skills 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Learning from experiences 57.1 (8) 14.3 (1) 28.6 (2) 3.5 1.527 Learning from others 28.6 (4) 0 0 2.471 2.471 Perspective taking 28.6 (4) 28.6 (2) 0 0 2.471 Self-reflection 21.4 (3) 0 0 1.75 1.75 Tolerance of others 14.3 (2) 0 0 1.75 1.105 Affective Wisdom Characteristics Forgiving 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Prosocial attitudes 7.1 (1) 14.3 (1) 0 0.276 0.525 Prosocial behaviors 35.7 (5) 14.3 (1) 0 1.05 3.281
102 Other Wisdom Characteristics Accepting 21.4 (3) 0 0 1.75 1.75 Accumulation of all factors 7.1 (1) 0 14.3 (1) 0.525 0.276 Application of human growth process 7.1 (1) 0 14.3 (1) 0.525 0.276 Brave 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Combination of knowledge and experience 7.1 (1) 14.3 (1) 0 0.276 0.525 Coping 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Different from knowledge and intelligence 7.1 (1) 0 28.6 (2) 0.525 1.75 Equanimity 0 28.6 (2) 0 4.421 0 Facing challenges 28.6 (4) 14.3 (1) 14.3 (1) 0.525 0.525 Foresights 7.1 (1) 14.3 (1) 0 0.276 0.525 Grateful 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Mature 14.3 (2) 28.6 (2) 14.3 (1) 0.618 0 Mindful 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 More than knowledge and common sense 0 42.9 (3) 14.3 (1) 7.000** 2.1 Nonjudgmental 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Older 0 14.3 (1) 14.3 (1) 2.1 2.1 Open 28.6 (4) 14.3 (1) 0 2.1 2.471 Persevering 0 14.3 (1) 0 2.1 0 Psychological wellbeing 14.3 (2) 0 14.3 (1) 1.105 0 Religious 21.4 (3) 0 0 1.75 1.75 Resilient 7.1 (1) 0 14.3 (1) 0.525 0.276 Righteous 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Spiritual 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Subjective wellbeing 7.1 (1) 0 0 0.525 0.525 Note : n=Code frequency; Rank-ordered by the triadic group code frequency. Sig: Chisquare significance based on Fishers exact test scores. p <.1, p < .05, ** p <.01
103 Figure 5-1. Wisdom characteristics rela tional networks graph for the Triadic Group (Centrality score loaded). Note: The size of the node mean s centrality scores. The line between the nodes means the co-occurrence and recurrence of wisdom characteristics reported by the participants. A) Degree centralit y. B) Betweenness centrality A B
104 Figure 5-2. Wisdom characteristics re lational networks graph for the Dyadic Group (Centrality score loaded) Note: The size of the node mean s centrality scores. The line between the nodes means the co-occurrence and recurrence of wisdom characteristics reported by the participants. A) Degree centralit y. B) Betweenness centrality Prosocial attitudes Prosocial behaviors Decision making Decision making for common goods and larger society Decision making to improve others' lives Decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life insight Knowledge experiential Thinking things through Understanding others combination of knowledge and experience different from knowledge and intelligence Equanimity foresights Mature more than knowlede and common sense Older Open Persevering Advice giving skills Learning from experiences Perspective-taking Prosocial attitudes Prosocial behaviors Decision making Decision making for common goods and larger society Decision making to improve others' lives Decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life insight Knowledge experiential Thinking things through Understanding others combination of knowledge and experience different from knowledge and intelligence Equanimity foresights Mature more than knowlede and common sense Older Open Persevering Advice giving skills Learning from experiences Perspective-taking A B
105 Figure 5-3. Wisdom characteristics relati onal networks graph for the Isolated and Null Group (Centrality score loaded) Note: The size of the node mean s centrality scores. The line between the nodes means the co-occurrence and recurrence of wisdom characteristics reported by the participants. A) Degree centralit y. B) Betweenness centrality. Decision making to improve others' lives Decision making to improve your life insight knowing how to improve your situation Knowledge experiential Logical mind Problem solving accumulation of all factors application of human growth process different from knowledge and intelligence Mature more than knowlede and common sense Older Psychological wellbeing Resilient Advice giving skills Learning from experiences Decision making to improve others' lives Decision making to improve your life insight knowing how to improve your situation Knowledge experiential Logical mind Problem solving accumulation of all factors application of human growth process different from knowledge and intelligence Mature more than knowlede and common sense Older Psychological wellbeing Resilient Advice giving skills Learning from experiences A B
106 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Summary The present study addressed the typology and ontogeny of laypeoples divergent understandings of wisdom, by investigating (1) to what extent respondents scores on a three dimensional wisdom scale were associated with their life satisfaction and subjective health status, (2) how wisdom was understood differently among laypeople, and (3) why they had different perceptions of wisdom. In order to answer the firs t and second research questions different wisdom groups were created by using Ardelts Thr ee-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (Ardelt, 2003). Based on their average scores on each wisdom component (i.e., cogni tive, reflective, and affective dimensions), respondents were arranged into four different wisdom groups (i.e., the triadic, dyadic, is olated, and null group). These groups then, were compared to test whether (1) people in the triadic gr oup would report significantly higher life satisfaction and general well-being than peopl e in the non-triadic groups, and (2) the proportion of elderly people in the triadic group would be higher t han that of young people compared to the proportion of elderly people in the lower wisdom-score groups. Subsequently, the respondents subjective perceptions of wisdom, as reported in their wisdom narratives, were analyzed by us ing a social network analysis methodology. The objective was to find the key implicit wisdom characteristics that separated people with high wisdom scale scores from those with low wisdom scores as measured by the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale. Lastly, the ontogeny of personal defin itions of wisdom was explored by conducting a qualitative analysis of the resp ondents wisdom narratives. The focus of
107 the analysis was on the characteristics of life stories, wisdom nominees, family background, social supports, and subcultures t hat distinguished the respondents in the triadic group from those in the non-triadic groups. The results confirmed that respondents in the triadic group had statistically significantly higher life satisfaction, subjec tive health status, and proportion of older adults than the isolated/null gr oups, but contrary to expec tations, not the dyadic group. Additional analysis of the Foundational Value Scale (FVS, Ja son et al., 2001) and selftranscendence (The Adult Self-Transcend ence Index, ASTI, Levenson et al., 2005) showed that the triadic groups mean scores in the Warmth subcategory in the Fundamental Value Scale and in overall self -transcendence were significantly higher than those of both the dyadi c and isolated/null groups. T he findings suggest that the triadic group respondents were more likely to endorse affective and self-transcendent wisdom characteristics, such as compassion and warmth for others, kindness being in the present I often engage in quiet contemplation , I feel that my i ndividual life is a part of a greater whole , and I feel compassionate even toward people who have been unkind to me than the non-triadic groups (the dyadi c and isolated/null groups) with a more positive perspective on life than especially the isolated/null groups. The findings of a social network analysis of personal wisdom characteristics confirmed the hypotheses that people in the triadic group would report more altruistic, reciprocal wisdom characteristics, such as prosocial behaviors, whereas people especially in the isolated/null wisdom groups would name more self-promoting, selfcentered wisdom characteristics. Also, people in the triadic group named more spiritual/religious characteristics as pers onal definitions of wis dom than those in the
108 isolated/null groups who appeared to report more cognitive-centered wisdom characteristics, such as, mastery of kno wledge and decision making to improve their situation or status. The results of the qualitat ive analysis showed possible cumulative advantages and disadvantages of having or lacking solid social support networks for multiple years, especially during the formative years, wit h regard to the respondents subjective perceptions of wisdom in later years. Res pondents who came to appreciate the value of compassionate concern for others (in addition to learning from experiences and mastery of knowledge as wisdom characteristics) described their childhood years as nurturing and encouraging due to the presence of caring senior family members. At the core of their shared activities and memories with their mentors and role models laid caring minds, ri ch life experiences, and ampl e opportunities to fail and recover, which can be summarized as l earning from experiences. Having had the chance to mature in a timely fashion, whil e knowing that there were people they could rely on, appears to have helped the respondents to develop self-confidence, conscious living, and compassion. This finding runs parallel with Albert B anduras (1977) social learning theory. According to the social learning theory, l earning is made possible through modeling. That is, We observe others and form these obs ervations. We form ideas of how new behaviors are performed. In turn, these coded observations serve as guides for further actions (OLeary, 1987, p. 33). In the same vein, the presence of wisdom role models and life mentors in close proximity for y ears could provide eno ugh opportunities to
109 observe them, which serve to create expec tations that certain actions would have benefits and others would not. By contrast, people who lacked mentorship and advice while growing up, mainly due to the absence of a father figure and being t he oldest child (especially a son) in a family of multiple siblings, had to grow up early with the pressu re to be prematurely independent. What they had to face must ha ve been such a demanding reality that it forced them to make decisions to better their situation and status. The different sociocultural structures and conditions that the respondents were embedded in while maturing seemed to have had an extensive impact on their understanding of wisdom in the later years. Another interesting finding was that life crises and hardships that the respondents experienced did not automatical ly lead to wisdom. Throughout the wisdom groups, parents divorce, poverty, personal str uggles, and even loss of loved ones were frequently reported in the res pondents life stories and wis dom experiences. It appears that people grew wise only if they were wil ling and able to learn fr om experience and be transformed in the process (Ardelt, 2004). Furthermore, learning a life lesson demands not only cognitive awareness but reflective and affective efforts. The integration and constructive use of our experiences, thus entails a multidimensional wisdom approach (Ardelt, 2003, 2005; Ardelt & Oh 2010; Sternberg, 1998; Sternberg & Jordan, 2005). Implications The unique contribution of this study is paramount. Adopting a life course perspective enabled a contextual investigatio n of the development of wisdom. Despite a consensus about the importance of some elements of wisdom in laypeoples definitions of wisdom, we still did not know why lay peoples endorsements of the multifaceted
110 wisdom components vary interpersonally (Staudi nger & Glck, 2011). In particular, few articles paid attention to the fact that laypeoples wisdom is dynamic and multifaceted and derived from a unique life context. That is, it encompasses dynamic developmental trajectories of wisdom characteristics in which solid social s upport networks, wisdom role models, and subcultures, especially during the upbringing years, interplay to varying degrees over the life course. Recently, for instance, Glck and Bl uck (2011) reported that laypeoples conceptions of wisdom could be clustered into two groups cognitive conceptions and integrative conceptions. In addition to cogniti ve and reflective characteristics that one group endorsed as central to wisdom, affective characteristics were found as core elements, dividing integrative views of wisdom and cognitive views. Although this study confirmed that laypeoples vi ews of wisdom are not unitary, even in the same Western culture, it failed to explain why people conc eive wisdom differently and what life course factors might have contri buted to the variance. In this regard, the present study adopted a life course perspective to investigate how and to what extent the presence or absence of solid social support networks, wisdom nominees, and wisdom-friendly subcultu res helped or hindered laypeople to develop strategies toward personal grow th and ultimately self-transcendence that balanced interpersonal knowledge, learni ng from experiences, and compassionate concern for others (Staudinger & Kessl er, 2008). Gutmann (1994) and Labouvie-Vief (1994) suggested that a more advanced le vel of human development constitutes positive relations with others as well as se lf-autonomy and independence. The results of the present study confirmed that having an opportunity to make sound choices,
111 especially during the early y ears of life with the support of close kin members, may ensure a legacy of good mental health, adaptive skills, perspective-taking, learning from experiences and others, prosocial attitudes and behaviors, and, thus, the development of wisdom in the later years (Elder & Li ker, 1982; Elder, Johnson, & Crosnoe, 2004). In fact, the quality of later life can be defined by the inte raction between life stressors and coping resources: The experiences of having coped successfully with unpredicted and seemingly depriving hardships (such as the Depression) in early adulthood is a potential resource for aging persons who face social, material and physical losses (Elder & Liker, 1982). Hence, older adults well-being might be closely related to how they dealt with challenging life situations and their decision making capacity during their formative years. Also, the presence of social support networks, from which people seek help, solace, and guidance, especially during childhood, is likely to play a critical role in the dev elopment of wisdom over the life course. Clausen (1993), for instance, emphasized these early years as an independent asset for the quality of middle age: In the childhood and early adolescent year s, general abilities, goals, values, and typical ways of relating to others take form to a greater or lesser degree, influenced by parental care and gui dance, by schooling, and by the scripts of behavior expected in any given social setting (p. 4). the amount of change people manifested in their adult years was related to the kinds of choices they had made years before. Moreover, I came to believe that, to a considerable degree, t heir ability to make strategic choices should be discerned in the adolescent years (p. 16). Clausen (1993) referred to this pivotal ti me during the primarily adolescent stage as planful competence, which predicts success in many of the later major social roles. A persons achievement and life satisfaction over much of the life course, thus, is largely governed by this competence. As life goes on, this ability helps persons to interact
112 responsibly with others in pursuit of thei r objectives. In other words, from the preadolescent years on, competence built du ring the early years of life can guide and assist numerous transitions during the life course (Claus en, 1993). Thus, the mindful and self-confident person assesses risks and benefits and maintains a high degree of flexibility later on (Clausen, 1993). Therefore, taking into account a procedur al perspective of wisdom development over the life course might be the best approach in addressing the variance in laypeoples trajectories in the development of wisdom. In order to understand life course factors that promote or undermi ne certain elements of wisdom development, we need to investigate interpersonal influences, such as laypeoples initial wisdom role models. This can provide the contextual knowledge that underlies the variance in the acquisition, relations, and activations of wisdom co mponents developed over the life course. Similarly, a procedural approach to wisdom development incorporates a social developmental perspective that can provide the field of contempor ary wisdom study with an important cultural perspecti ve. It enables us to see the cultural context within which specific wisdom characteristics emerge and are expressed on a regular basis. Despite the clear evidence of its b enefits, the present study has certain limitations. First, the conveni ent sampling process might impair the generalizability of the research findings. Also, the qualitative analysis of the wisdom narratives was limited to early childhood and adolescence, sociocul tural context, wisdom nominee, important life events or memories, and personal definiti ons of wisdom. Sternberg (2005) claimed that growth in wisdom is not normative and difficult to generalize due to various psychological and social factors. Although the present study provided information about
113 social factors that helped people to develop wisdom, the variance in personality and its effects on coping and dealing with lifes vi cissitudes, and thus, on the understanding and manifestation of wisdom in later years was not investigated. Therefore, the present study invites more research emphasis on the magnitude and content of the relationships between personality characteristics and life course factors in regard to the development of wisdom. Nonetheless, the present study prov ided enough evidence for continuing multidisciplinary efforts to untangle the dy namics of laypeoples social relations, nurturing family environments, and religious/s piritual experiences during their upbringing and their relations with the development of wisdom in later years. It addressed how socio-cultural characteristics found in the life story, social s upport networks, wisdom nominees, and personal wisdom experiences were related to personal understandings of wisdom. Thus, the findings of the present study can contribute to future efforts investigating general life course circumstances and social relations through which wisdom develops and manifests. More specifically, although it is true t hat the development of wisdom might not depend on what people experience, but on how they deal with events (Holliday & Chandler, 1986), there is an untapped territory to explore what types of sociocultural structures and conditions pr omote or suppress wise decision making at various junctures in life. If we could find and conf irm the universal types and traits of wisdom promoting prerequisites, whet her people or environments, it would open a new stage for the study of contemporary wisdom. That is being less wise does not necessarily mean that such individuals are incapable of bec oming wiser. By extending our interests and
114 attention from individuals to sociocultural factors, future studies of wisdom might provide better understandings of laypeoples trajectori es of the development of wisdom across cultures. In sum, the present study helps us (1) to acknowledge the significant contributions that a new sociological persp ective can make, interpersonally and crossculturally, in addition to the dominant psychol ogical study of wisdom; (2) to recognize the importance of social relations as a repository of memories and events, waiting to be rediscovered and reevaluated; (3) to understand the role of wisdom nominees as advice givers and mentors who can help us to lear n from mistakes and ordeals; and (4) to recognize the importance of subculture in which people personalize the core ideas and value of wisdom. The findings of the present research that sought the sociological roots of wisdom emphasize the importance of life circumstances and upbringing environments for the development of wisdom. People are not nece ssarily born wise, but can grow wiser due to the caring and nurturing minds of their lovi ng/loved ones who play ed a significant role in their development of wisdom. As a lifel ong process of human development, wisdom development might begin in some individuals by recognizing the legacy of family values where the seed of wisdom continues to ripen.
115 APPENDIX A INTERVIEW GUIDE FOR WISDOM IN LIFE (Bluck and Glck, 2004, as adapted by Michel Ferrari) Thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview for us. As you know we are going to be talking about wisdom and what it means in peoples lives. ______________________________________________________________________ Now first, I would like to ask you about yourself. Tell me a bit about yourself and your life story. In order to help you remember what has happened in your life and how it affected you, please draw what we call a Life-line. As you can see, on the left side of this blank graph paper, we find a line that ranges from negative at the bottom to positive at the top. Along the bottom of the page, we have numbers from Birth to 100. Now, I invite you to (1) please trace a line showing of the ups and downs of your life at different ages. (2) Mark significant events in your life with an X at the age they occurred. Now, looking at the line you have drawn and the Xs you have marked, what are some of the things you remember most about your childhood and your life? Please tell me what you consider your most important memories of events that help make you the person you are today. For my next question in this part of the interview, I would like to ask you, to please take a moment to think of the wisest person you know in your own life. Who is this person? What makes [this person] so wise? (Why did you choose them?) What is one story you know about [this person], or one thing [this person] said or did that shows [this person] is wise? What was wise about that? (How could [this person] have been less wise? What might some other person have said or done?)
116 How did [the person the respondent chose] get to be so wise? How has [this person] affected your own life? Is it possible for you to become more like [this person]? What would you need to do, or what would have to happen? What influen ces or circumstances would you need (perhaps beyond your control)? Now how about yourself? Please think of some times in your life when you were wise or approached being wise. What were those times? You have listed [these times]: Please tell me which of these times in your life you were the most wise? How were you wise? How would it have been unwise if you had been different? For my final question in this part of the interview, I would like to ask you again, now that we have had a chance to talk about it, what is wisdom? What does wisdom mean to you?
117 APPENDIX B DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE What is your highest level of education? What is/was your Occupation? What year did you begin that job? Did you have any important hobbies or skills ( like cooking, writing, sports) that you are also proud of? Are you a member of any et hnic group or people that your identify with? (Ethnicity) Do you consider yourself religious? What is your religion? (or what was your parents religion?) Where were you born? Country of Birth Place of Birth Where did you live your life? When is your Birthday (year), if I may ask ?
118 APPENDIX C THE FOUNDATIONAL VALUE SCALE (FVS) (Jason et al., 2001) For each item, use a 5-point scale (1 =not at all, 5 =definitely) This instrument will be answered twice: (1) How much does each attributes of these describe a person who has wisdom? (2) How much is each of these attributes true of yourself? 1. Animation: rapture, joy, hope, and happiness. 2. Harmony: balanced and centered within 3. Flow: so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter 4. Openness: can accommodate what ever experiences that arise 5. Positive self-esteem and self love. 6. Gratitude and appreciation. 7. Appreciation for things as they are, without embellishment. 8. Compassion and warmth for others. 9. Demonstrates a concern for the health of the environment. 10. Feels love, fellowship, or union with god. 11. Sees meaning and purpose in life. 12. Experiences an underlying unity in life. 13. Capacity to cope with uncertainty. 14. Intelligence. 15. Good judgment.
119 16. Humor. 17. Childlike wonder and awe. 18. Being in the present. 19. Kindness. 20. Problem-solving ability. 21. Reverence for nature. 22. Living a spiritual life. 23. Genius.
120 APPENDIX D 3-DIMENSIONAL WISDOM SCALE (Ardelt, 2003) Cognitive Dimension of the 3D-WS How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements? (1 = strongly agree to 5 = strongly disagree) Ignorance is bliss It is better not to know too much about things that cannot be changed In this complicated world of our s, the only way we can know whats going on is to rely on leaders or experts w ho can be trusted. There is only one right way to do anything A person either knows the answe r to a question or s/he doesnt You can classify almost all peopl e as either honest or crooked People are either good or bad Life is basically the sa me most of the time A problem has little attraction for me if I dont think it has a solution I try to anticipate and avoid situations where there is a likely chance I will have to think in depth about something I prefer just to let things happen rather t han try to understand why they turned out that way Simply knowing the answer rather than understanding the reasons for the answer to a problem is fine with me I am hesitant about making important dec isions after thinking about them
121 I often do not understand peoples behavior Reflective Dimensi on of the 3D-WS Things often go wrong for me by no fault of my own I would feel much better if my present circumstances changed I try to look at everybodys side of a dis agreement before I make a decision (reversed) When Im upset at someone, I usually try to put myself in his or her shoes for a while (reversed) I always try to look at all si des of a problem (reversed) Before criticizing somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place (reversed) I sometimes find it difficult to see thi ngs from another persons point of view When I am confused by a problem, one of the firs t things I do is survey the situation and consider all the relevant pieces of information (reversed) Sometimes I get so charged up emotionally t hat I am unable to consider many ways of dealing with my problems When I look back on what has happened to me I cant help feeling resentful When I look back on whats happened to me, I feel cheated I either get very angry or depressed if things go wrong Affective Dimensi on of the 3D-WS I am annoyed by unhappy people who just feel sorry for themselves People make too much of the feeli ngs and sensitivity of animals
122 There are some people I know I would never like I can be comfortable with all ki nds of people (reversed) Its not really my problem if other s are in trouble and need help Sometimes I dont feel very sorry for other people when they are having problems Sometimes I feel a real com passion for everyone (reversed) I often have not comforted anot her when he or she needed it I dont like to get involved in listening to another persons troubles There are certain people whom I dislike so mu ch that I am inwardly pleased when they are caught and punished for something they have done. Sometimes when people are talking to me, I fi nd myself wishing that they would leave Im easily irritated by people who argue with me. If I see people in need, I try to hel p them one way or another (reversed)
123 APPENDIX E THE ADULT SELF-TRANSCENDENCE INVENTORY (Levenson et al., 2005) How much are the following st atements true of yourself? (1 = Definitely true of myself, 2 = Mostly true of myself, 3 = A bout halt-way true, 4 = Rarely true of myself, 5 = Not true of myself) 1. I open engage in quiet contemplation. 2. I feel that my individual lif e is a part of a greater whole. 3. I dont worry about other peoples opinions of me. 4. I am increasingly fo cused on the present. 5. I feel a sense of belonging with both earlier and future generations. 6. My peace of mind is not easily upset. 7. My sense of well-being does not depend on a busy social life. 8. I feel part of someth ing greater than myself. 9. My happiness is not dependent on other people and things. 10. I do not become angry easily. 11. I have a good sense of humor about myself. 12. I find much joy in life. 13. Material possessions don t mean much to me. 14. I feel compassionate even toward people who have been unkind to me.
124 APPENDIX F SATISFACTION WITH LIFE SCALE The SWLS is a short, 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitive judgments of one's lives. The scale usua lly requires only about one minute of respondent time. The scale is not copy righted, and can be used without charge and without permission by all professionals (researchers and practitioners). The scale takes about one minute to complete, and is in the public domain. A description of psychometric properties of the scale can be found in Pavot and Diener (1993). Survey Form Below are five statements that you may agree or disagree wit h. Using the 1 7 scale below indicate your agreement with eac h item by placing the appropriate number on the line preceding that item. Please be open and honest in your responding. 7. Strongly agree 6. Agree 5. Slightly agree 4. Neither agree nor disagree 3. Slightly disagree 2. Disagree 1. Strongly disagree ________In most ways my life is close to my ideal. ________The conditions of my life are excellent. ________I am satisfi ed with my life. ________So far I have gotten the important things I want in life. ________If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.
125 APPENDIX G CODEBOOK List of Codes for Personal Wisdom Definition Cognitive Wisdom Characteristics A. Ambiguity & Uncertainty B. Decision making C. Desire to know D. Desire to understand life E. Desire to understand others F. Desire to understand self G. Educated H. Intelligent I. Knowledge_books J. Knowledge_experiential K. Knowledge_general L. Limits of knowledge M. Logical mind N. Other O. Thinking things through P. Problem solving Q. Seeing through illusions R. Understanding life S. Understanding others T. Understanding self Reflective Wisdom Characteristics A. Advice giving skills B. Judgment skills C. Learning from others D. Learning from experiences E. Other reflective characteristics F. Perspective taking
126 G. Self-reflection H. Sense of justice I. Tolerance of others Affective Wisdom Characteristics A. Forgiving B. Other affective characteristics C. Prosocial attitudes D. Prosocial behaviors E. Self compassion
127 Coding Manuals Coding Manuals Code name Brief/Detailed Description Inclusion/ex clusion Examples Cognitive Wisdom Characteristics Ambiguity and uncertainty Acknowledgement and acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty in life Decision making Ability to make decision so wisdom I think it does have a lot to do with decision making Decision making against odds and oppositions Decision making despite lifes unpredictability and uncertainty I made a difficult decision. I didnt make the easy choiceI think wisdom is doingwhat you see as best even if it maybe unpopular or uncomfortable or completely sucky. Decision making to improve others lives Decision making to improve others lives to make wise choices on like, make smart, beneficial decisions to furtherothers lives. Decision making to improve your life Decision making to improve his/her own life Wisdom is knowing how to better your situation, analyzing all the external factors and just making the right decisions in your life, I think. Decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life Decision making in combination with knowledge and understanding of life So I would say wisdom is when you know got to make a decision based on whats the information there and do it almost instinctively without agonizing too much about it. Decision making with divine guidance Decision making with divine guidance making the right decisions at any given time and I dont think thats something that we can do on our own and thats what I meant when I said we are to, when I say we, I mean Christians, we are not to establish our own righteousness and what I mean by that we are not to determine what we are going to do and what Im not going to do. We should decide what we are going to do and what were not going to do based on what the word of god said we ought to do and we are not to do. Desire to know Desire to know and learn; in-depth or just interest in general or interest in pursuing knowledge or pursuing wisdom than anything else.
128 knowledge Desire to understand life Desire to understand life (curiosity, asking question about human life) Desire to understand others Desire to understand others Desire to understand self Desire to understand self Educated Educated She, her family was very well educated and they discussed politics and so I think she was smart, she was aware of what was going on. Intelligent Intelligent To me wisdom, you have to be intelligent to be wise. Knowledge books Knowledge of life from other sources (books, lectures, media, training) I think personally for whatever know ledge I had its come from that early training, the good book tells you that you should get wisdom Knowledge experiential Experimental knowledge of life (based on own experiences; common sense; street smart) Wisdom. Well, you dont have, and I might be wrong (on this one), you dont have to be a real educated person. I think wisdom comes from not from young people, it could, but it comes from lifes experience, how people have directed and lived their lives with their experiences, and I think thats part of wisdom. I could be all wrong they have wisdom, streetwise wisdom on how to live a good life. Knowledge general Knowledge of life (general if source is not clear) knowledge general Limits of knowledge Recognizing the limits of ones knowledge (i.e., I know I dont know) Not necessarily thinking that your experience and what you think about something is going to be useful so it has to be offered. Wisdom I think is offered as a possible way to think about things based on ones own life experience, but not necessarily the only way. Logical mind Has to be directly said Wisdom involves a lot of analytical thought Other-thinking things through Has to be directly said Problem solving Problem solving ability I think a wise person is somebody who is able to be a problem solver. I
129 think somebody who makes sense of their environment and circumstances and tradition and this, that and the other thing and is able to face problems and challenges and try to you know overcome them in some reasonable fashion, a way that is good for the optimum number of people. Seeing through illusion Seeing through illusions (can see things as they really are) the ability to see the underline truth behind anything would be the wisdom. Understanding life Understanding of life so I think its the fact that she has all these different aspects of life and shes able to handle all these different aspects. Understanding others Understanding of others understanding other peoples interestsand motivations Understanding self Self-understanding and self-knowledge, knowing self self understanding That means for me, my brain, to give me good advice Reflective Wisdom Characteristics Advice giving skills Advice giving skills give advice to other people, to give good advice. Judgment skills Judgment skills, Solomon, mundane, reflective Has to do with moral and ethical. Its the ability to judge. Wisdom is probably the ability to observe accurately and then to form conclusions based on observations and decide on courses of action which are going to be a benefit to the observer and the learner as well as the common good for a better world, society and the world. Learning from experiences Learning from past experiences and mistakes I think of learning from past mistakes and applying it to your own situation, I think that succinctly describes my definition of wisdom. Learning from others Learning from others experiences and mistakes I like to watch people. I told so many people and I absolutely believe you never meet another human being that you dont learn something from, absolutely never. I dont care if they appear to be the most fickle people, person on two feet. Theres something you can learn from them and I think thats really interesting. Perspective taking Perspective taking (Ability and willingness to look at phenomena and events from different perspective; gaining of the appreciation of the other persons viewpoints. you become very accommodating food of all peopleopinions and you dont get angry with them, you just mmm able to understand their views of points.
130 good listener) Self-reflection Self-reflection, engage in self as an activity, self-examination, selfawareness, self-insight, meditation I think his ability to answer questions and to reflect on things, and to pause to really think about his experiences and what he had been through hmm and what knowledge he had acquired over the years and to be able to reflect on that and to bring abouthis take on life, his hmm the experiences he had had. Sense of justice Sense of justice and fairness (if mentioned) That seems like very fair, very fair person. Tolerance of others Tolerance of other people and peoples point of view Also, he was extremely tolerant, he was very tolerant of all races, all ethnicities, all sexual orientations, all social classes Affective Wisdom Characteristics Forgiving Forgiving others our love for one another is not based on how good we are, how right we are you know. We love people in spite of because god loves us in spite of the mess that we make Prosocial attitudes Prosocial attitudes toward other beings; love, compassion, sympathy, empathy, benign attitudes our love for one another is not based on how good we are, how right we are. We love people in spite of, because god loves us in spite of the mess that we make Prosocial behavior Prosocial behavior toward others: altruism, helping, caring, nurturing, encouraging, fostering, giving, sharing our job is to love and help one another and support another and that how you help people change their lives a sharing and or giving and taking of personal experience hmm sharinghmm so being able to identify when and where your personal past experiences would be able to help someone else in whatever it is theyre doing Self-compassion Self-compassion, not too hard on yourself, self-forgiveness what makes him wise to me is his ability to think a lot about things, but at the same time realize that there is only so much you can doLike he really doesnt like worry about how this might beHe doesnt seem to dwell on those situations Other Wisdom Characteristics Accepting Accepting of what is You know theres a great deal to be said to accepting everybody. Accumulation of all factors Application of human growth it has to be talking about a process of taking the human growth process, which is process of, it be the process of developing a belief system and
131 process developing behaviors that are consistent with that belief system. Authority And leadership to be able to lead men, to be able to get them to function as a unit, to be a leader. Balance I think its the delicate balance of handling your own needs in concern with others, I think its getting what you need out of the situation without pissing everybody else off. I think thats wisdom. Brave I think wisdom is part of bravery too, to be able to say what you want to say and what you believe even if its unpopular. Different from knowledge and intelligence Wisdomit is so interesting to distinguish wisdom from knowledge. There is a different between intelligence and wisdom for sure. Wise has nothing to do with smart. wisdomit doesnt mean smart. if youre intelligent you dont have to look out for other peopleyou can use that intelligence strictly for yourself and you dont have to listen to anyone all their experiences are their thought And its time, its time and experience. I can read a whole bunch of books and that can give me intelligence, but that cant give me wisdom. To me wisdom is basing your life experienc e and its based on not what you read about, but what decisions you make when youre faced with them, not what you think about, but what do you do, what, you might have some great personal politics, but how to act those, how do you do those and how do you make your decisions and what do you say everyday and what do you live as important you know everyday what is your goal for the daywhat are you trying to get into the world, what are you trying to do for society? Equanimity Calm, even-tempered, non-impulsive, patient, poised, quiet, at ease, peaceful, relaxed a wise person seems to have a lot of patience and stillness Ethical_conduct Ethical and moral conduct I think you also have to include a certain set of moral or ethical values. To be wise, to me someone thats really cruel and somebody that can cause a lot of hurt, pain, things like that in the world is not necessarily wise. To me they can be intelligent and be smart, but people dont classify that as wise Foresights I would describe it as knowing like an outcome, knowing possible outcomes for something. your outlook, to focused how itll turn out to be, what is it become into and
132 who will it help people. Grateful Appreciative Just feeling, appreciating the fullness of it. I think its one way to say it. I dont mean going out and partying, thats great fun too. I dont mean, I mean I kind of contentment, kind of, very quiet satisfaction Honest I find that people respect me more if Im sort of honest with them, but I think thats something Ive struggled with that in the past. Humble Humble, humility, modest Humility, hes a very, he wont come out and say hey Ill tell you what I think, he doesnt theres a lot more to life than professional So in a way maybe having less education, being less successful may have given me a little more humility and you know self-confident. Humor Sense of humor I think a sense of humor can be included in wisdom. A sense of humor always sort of oils the wheels. I dont think I can add anything else right now. Insight -faculty or ability to seeing inner character or underlying truth. -an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, esp., through intuitive understanding the ability to see the underline truth in things; to be able to understand what really matter; see what is like the true underline aspect of any situation. I mean it's the ability to see the connections across the spectrum. Mature Sensible, reliable, integrated (integrity), self-actualized, discreet (knowing righteousness and act), self-control, responsible wisdom is maturity, they pretty much run hand and hand and I dont mean maturity as an age. I just feel that maturity is kind of the basis of what I was saying, understanding that our social system and the world around us, everyone around us can function together, that we dont always need conflict Mindful Enjoy the moment living in now I think you have to also have con scious living, I dont know if thats mindfulness. I dont know what the right way to say it would be, but you have wisdom you have to live y our life in a conscious way. More than knowledge and common sense Its just more than knowledge and its more than common sense. Its having a perception of whats true or right about something and would extend beyond just the circumstances now and still hold true later on. Non-judgmental I think if he had been judgmental he wouldve turned people of immediately and thats what people do you know, but if he was willing to let people
133 explore even, what would be typicall y dangerous subjects, he would talk easily people who were so omni sexual you know very diverse people felt comfortable with him because he was non-judgmental and that would be the difference I think. Older Aged (older) The wise beyond your years is implying that youre young but yet youre wise implying that you really have to be old to be wise. Open Open to new experiences, love traveling, like experiencing new things I think that that [what] would be the pinnacle of wisdom is to say that the greatest threat to the human mind is tyranny over an open mind and that the most important task of a persons life is to swear on the alter of god, hostility toward that kind of tyranny and fight against it. Persevering Try and try and try again, not discouraged, really stick to it, endurance Now if he [President Obama] wants it badly hes keeping it under his hat. Because thats not prominent except thats keeping on that stamina shows that you want something because you persevere. Psychological well-being Mastery of life, selfconfidence, autonomy, positive psychological resources, growth and positive relations with others you cant learn wisdom, its nothing like that. I think what a person goes through in life, what they expect that they want out of life and what theyre going through right then, all combine and make wisdom, thats what I believe, all the combinations of your past, your present and things that you want to see in the future, combined in one for you to be wise, you have wisdom. Rarity Rarity of wisdom wisdom is hard, its not one that I think about often, I mean intelligence and giving good advice, but I never think of someone as really wise. Religious Belief in a certain faith sectarian, pray a lot, go to church often I think wisdom is seeking in every way you can to do the will of god, to follow his words and to make effort to live by that guidance because everything that we do, every decision that we make on a daily basis should incorporate gods word and gods thinking Resilient Coping (successful coping with adversity and suffering) Shes (mother) been through a lot Shes (grandmother) lived through a lot, she was born right during the depression Righteous And rectitude, a good man, knows whats good, general goodness, correctness, decency he was a good man. She was a good, friendly person. Spiritual Sense of the sacred, a No she was highly spiritual
134 higher power, or connection with a wider universe, nonsectarian, prayer established religion Subjective wellbeing Happiness, satisfied, content Shes satisfied with her life. How many wealthy people are satisfied with their lives? Im content with that wisdom. Thinking things though Has to be directly said What makes him wise is because um, he always thought things through
135 LIST OF REFERENCES Ardelt, M. (2003). Empirical assessment of a three-dimensional wisdom scale. Research on Aging, 25, 275-324. Ardelt, M. (2004a). Where can wisdom be fo und? A reply to the commentaries by Baltes and Kunzmann, Sternberg, and Achenbaum. Human Development 47 304-307. Ardelt, M. (2004b). Wisdom as expert kno wledge system: A critical review of a contemporary operationalizati on of an ancient concept. Human Development 47 257-285. Ardelt, M. (2011). Wisdom, age, and well-being. In K.W. Schaie & S.L. Willis (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (7th ed., pp.279-291). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier. Ardelt, M., Achenbaum, W.A., & Oh, H. (2012) The Paradox ical Nature of Personal Wisdom and Its Relation to Human Developm ent. In M. Ferrari and N. Weststrate (Eds.), The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom (pp. 265-298): Springer. Ardelt, M. & Oh, H. (2010). Wisdom: Definition, Assessment, and Its Relation to Successful Cognitive and Em otional Aging. In: D. Je ste and C. Depp (eds.): Successful Cognitive a nd Emotional Aging ( pp. 619-643) Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing (A slightly different version of this chapter was published in the Journal of the Kor ean Gerontological Society, 28(3). Arlin, P. K. (1990). Wisdom: T he art of problem finding. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, or igins, and development (pp. 230-243). New York: Cambridge University Press. Baltes, P. B. (2004). Wisdom as orchestration of mind and virtue Unpublished ms. Retrieved from the website of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, http://library.mpib-berlin .mpg.de/ft/pb/PB_Wisdom_2004.pdf. Baltes, P.B., & Kunzmann, U. (2004). The two faces of wisdom: Wisdom as a general theory of knowledge and judgment about excellence in mind and virtue vs. wisdom as everyday realization in people and products. Human Development, 47, 290-299. Baltes, P.B., Kunzmann, U., & Stange, A. (2 005). Wisdom: The in tegration of mind and virtue Annual report from the Center for Lifespan Psychology (pp. 196-204). Max Planck Institute. Retrieved from http://www.mpibberlin.mpg.de/en/research/lifespan-psychology
136 Baltes, P.B. & Smith, J. (1990). The psychology of wisdom and its ontogenesis. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.). Wisdom: Its natures, origins, and development (pp. 87-120). New York: Cambridge University Press. Baltes, P.B., & Staudinger, U. M. (1993). The search for a psychology of wisdom. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2, 75-80. Baltes, P. B., & Staudinger U. M. (Eds.). (1996). Interactive minds: Life-span perspectives on the social foundation of cognition. New York: Cambridge University Press. Baltes, P. B., & Staudinger, U. M. (2000). Wisdom: A metaheuristic (pragmatic) to orchestrate mind and virtue toward excellence. American Psychologist, 55 (1), 122-136. Baltes, P. B., Staudinger, U. M. Maercker, A., & Smith, J. (1995). People nominated as wise: A comparative study of wisdom-related knowledge. Psychology and Aging, 10(2), 155-166. Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press. Bengtson, V. L., Burgess, E. O., & Parrott, T. M. (1997). T heory, explanation, and a third generation of theoretic al development in social gerontology. The Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 52B (2), S72-S88. Birren, J.E., & Svensson, C.M. (2005). Wisdom in history. In R.J. Sternberg and Jennifer Jordan, A handbook of wisdom (pp.3-31). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bluck, S. & Glck, J. (2004). Maki ng Things Better and Learning a Lesson: Experiencing Wisdom Across the Lifespan. Journal of Personality, 72 543-572 Bluck, S., & Glck, J. (2005) From the inside out: People's implicit theories of wisdom. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Jordan (Eds.), A handbook of wisdom: Psychological perspectives (pp. 84-109). New York: Cambridge University Press. Borgatti, S.P. (2002). NetDraw: Graph Visualization Software Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies. Borgatti, S.P., Everett, M.G. and Freeman, L.C. (2002). Ucinet for Windows: Software for Social Network Analysis Harvard, MA: Analytic Technologies. Choi, Koo, & Choi. (2007). Indi vidual differences in analytic versus holistic thinking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33 : 691.
137 Clausen, J.A. 1993. American Lives: Looking Back at the Children of the Great Depression. New York, NY: The Free Press. Clayton, V. P. (1975). Erikson's theory of human development as it applies to the aged: Wisdom as contradictory cognition. Human Development, 18 119-128. Clayton, V. P., & Birren, J. E. (1980). The development of wisdom across the life-span: A reexamination of an ancient topic. In P. B. Baltes & O. G. Brim, Jr. (Eds.), Lifespan development and behavior (Vol. 3, pp. 103-135). New York: Academic Press. Creswell, W. J., & Pl ano, C. V. L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Nakamura, J. (2005). T he role of emotions in the development of wisdom. In R. J. St ernberg & J. Jordan (Eds .), A handbook of wisdom. Psychological perspectives (pp. 220-242). New York: Cambridge University Press. Dannefer, D. (2003). Cumula tive advantage/disadvantage and the life course: Crossfertilizing age and social science theory. Journals of Gerontology: Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58B (6), 327-337. Dannefer, D., & Settersten, A. R. (2010). The study of the life course: Implications for social gerontology. In D. D annefer and C. Phillipson (Eds.), Handbook of social gerontology (pp.3-19). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Deane-Drummond, C. (2007). Experiencing Wonder and Seeking Wisdom. [Article]. Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, 42 (3), 587-590. doi: 10.1111/j.14679744.2007.00851.x Denney, N., Dew, J., & Kroupa, S. (1995). Pe rceptions of wisdom: What is wisdom and who has it? Journal of Adult Development, 2 37-47. Dittmann-Kohli, F., & Batles, P. B. (1990). Toward a neofucntionalist conception of adult intellecutal development: Wisdom as a prot otypical case of intellectual growth. In C. N. Alexander & E. J. Langer (Eds.). Higher stages of human development. Perspectives on adult growth (pp. 54-78). New York: Oxford University Press. Edmondson, R. (2012a). Researching 'per sonal wisdom' from an ethnographic perspective. In M. Ferrari and N. Weststrate (Eds.), The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom : Springer. Edmondson, R. (2012b). Intergenerational re lations in the West of Ireland and sociocultural approaches to wisdom. Journal of Family Issues, 33 (1), 76-98.
138 Elder G. H. Jr. (1998). The Life C ourse as Developmental Theory. Child Development 69(1): 1-12. Elder, G. H., Jr., Johnson, M. K., & Crosnoe, R. (2004). The emergence and development of life course theory. In J. Mortimer and M. Shanahan, Handbook of the life course (pp. 3-19). New York: Springer. Elder, G. H. Jr., & Liker, J. K. (1982). Hard Times in Women's Lives: Historical Influences Across Forty Years. American Journal of Sociology, 88 (2), 241-269. Erikson, E. H. (1963 ). Childhood and Society (2nd ed.). New York: Norton. Erikson, E. H. (1982). The life cycle completed : A review (1st ed.). New York: Norton. Fillenbaum, G. G., & Duke University. (1988). Multidimensional functional assessment of older adults: The Duke Older Americans Resources and Services procedures Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates. Fiske, A.; Kitayama, S.; Markus, H.R.; & Nisbe tt, R.E. (1998). The cultural matrix of social psychology. In D. Gilbert & S. Fiske & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology (4th ed., pp. 915). San Francisco: McGraw-Hill. Fuller, R. (2006). The Wonder of it All: Em otion and Personal Transformation. [Article]. ReVision, 29 (2), 24-35. Gecas, Viktor. (2004). Selfagency and the life course. In Mortimer, J. T., & Shanahan, M. J. Handbook of the life course (pp.369-388). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. Glck, J., & Bluck, S. (2011). Laypeoples conceptions of wisdom and its development: cognitive and integrative views. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66 (3), 321, doi:10.1093/geronb/gbr011. Hall, S. S. (2010). Wisdom : from philosophy to neuroscience New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Hershey, D. A., & Farrell, A. H. (1997). Perc eptions of wisdom associated with selected occupations and personality characteristics. Current Psychology; Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, 16, 115-130. Hills, P. C., Pargament, K. L., Hood, R. W., Jr, McCullough, M. E., Swyers, J. P., Larson, D. B., & Sinnbaver, B. J. (2000). Conceptualizing religion and spirituality: Points of commonality, points of departure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 30( 1), 51-77.
139 Holliday S. G., &, Chandler M. J. (1986). Wisdom: Explorations in adult competence Basel, New York: Karger. Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2005). Social gerontology : a multidisciplinary perspective. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Jason, L.A., Reichler, A., King, C., Madsen, D., Camacho, J. & Marchese, W. (2001). The measurement of wisdom : A preliminary effort. Journal of community psychology, 29 (5), 585-598. Jennings, P. A., Aldwin, C. M., Levenson, M. R., Spiro, A., & Mroczek, D. K. (2006). Combat exposure, perceived ben efits of military service, and wisdom in later life: Findings from the normative aging study. Research on Aging, 28 115-134. DOI: 10.1177/01640275 05281549 Jordan, J. (2005). The quest for wisdom in adul thood: a psychological perspective. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Jordan (Eds.), A handbook of wisdom. Psychological perspectives (pp. 160-188). New York: Camb ridge University Press. Katz, J. (2001). Analytic induction revisited. In R. M. Emerson (Ed.), Contemporary field research: Perspectives and formulations (2nd ed., pp. 331-34). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland. Kekes, J. (1983). Wisdom. American Philosophical Quarterly, 20 277-286. Keyes, C. L.M., & Haidt, J. (2003). Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life welllived. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Kitayama, S., & Karasawa, M. (1997). Implicit self-esteem in Japan: Name letters and birthday numbers. Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin, 23 (7), 736-742. Kitchener, K.S., & Brenner, H .G. (1990). Wisdom and reflec tive judgment: Knowing in the face of uncertainty. In R.J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development (pp.212-229). New York: Cambridge University Press. Kramer, D. A. (1990). Conc eptualizing wisdom: The primacy of affect-cognition relations. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development (pp. 279-313). New York: Cambridge University Press. Kuckartz, U. (2010). Realizing mixed-methods approaches with MAXQDA Unpublished Tutorial obtained from http://www.maxqda.de/dow nload/MixMethMAXQDANov01-2010.pdf Kunzmann, U., & Baltes, P.B. (2003). Wisdom-related knowledge: Affective, motivational, and interpersonal correlates. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29 1104-1119.
140 Kunzmann, U., & Baltes, P.M. (2005). T he psychology of wisdom: Theoretical and empirical challenges. In R.J. Sternberg & J. Jordan (Eds.), Handbook of wisdom: Psychological perspectives (pp. 110-135). New York: Cambridge University Press. Labouvie-Vief, G. (1990). Wisdom as integr ated thought: Historical and developmental perspectives. In R.J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development (pp. 52-86). New York: Cambridge University Press. Langer, E. J. (1989). Mindfulness. Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., Le, T. N. (2004). A Cross-Cultural Study of Pr actical and Transcendent Wisdom Doctoral Dissertation, Un iversity of California, Davis. Available through Dissertation Abstracts International DAI-B 65/09 (AAT 3148469). ProQuest Information and Learning, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Online at http://library.dialog.com/bluesheets/html/bl0035.html Le, T. N. (2008). Age differences in spir ituality, mystical experiences and wisdom. Ageing & Society, 28 383-411. Le, T. N. (2011). Life satisfaction, openne ss value, self-transcendence, and wisdom. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12 171-182. DOI 10.1007/ s10902-010-9182-1. Levenson, M.R., Jennings, P.A., Aldwin, C. M., et al. (2005). Self-transcendence: Conceptualization and measurement. International Journal of Aging & Human Development 60, 127-143. MacQueen, K.M., McLellan, E., Kay, K., & Milstein, B. (1998). Codebook development for team-based qualitative analysis. Field methods, 10 31-36. doi: 10.1177/1525822X 980100020301 Meacham, J.A. (1990). The loss of wisdom. In R.J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom, its nature, origins, and development (pp. 181-212). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Moody, H. R. (1986). Late life learning in the information society. In D. A. Peterson, J. E. Thornton & J. E. Birren (Eds.), Education and aging (pp. 122-48). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Moreno, J.L. (1934). Who Shall Survive? : Foundation of Sociometry, Group Psychotherapy, and Sociodrama. Washington, D.C.: Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co. Reprinted in 1953 (Second Edition) and in 1978 (Third Edition) by Beacon House, Inc., Beacon, NY.
141 Moreno, J.L. (1946). Sociogram and sociomatrix: A note to the paper by Forsyth and Katz. Sociometry. 9, 348-349. Mortimer, Jeylan T., & Mi chael J. Shanahan. 2004. Handbook of the life course New York: Springer. Namy, E., Guest, G., Thairu, L., & and Johnson, L. (2007) Data reduction techniques for large qualitative data sets. In G. Guest & K.M. MacQueen (Eds .) Handbook for team-based qualitative research (pp. 137-162). Lanham: Altamira. Nayak, S., Shiflett, S.C., Schoenberger, N.E., A gostinelli, S., Kirshblum, S., Averill, A., Cotter, A.C. (2001). Is acupuncture effectiv e in treating chronic pain after spinal cord injury? Archives of Physical Medi cine and Rehabilitation, 82 (11), 15781586). Nisbett, R. E. (2003). The geography of thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently and why. New York: The Free Press. Norenzayan, A. & Nisbett, R.E., (2000) Culture and causal cognition. Current directions in psychological science, 9 : 132. Okabe, R. (1983). Cultural assumptions of East and West: Japan and the United States. In W. Gudykunst (Ed.), Intercultural communication theory: Current perspectives (pp. 21-44). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. OLeary, K. D. (1987). Physica l aggression between spouses: A social learning theory perspective. In V. B. Van Hassels, R. Mo rrison, A. Bellack, & M. Herson (Eds.). Handbook of family violence (pp. 31-55). New York: Plenum. Orwoll, L., & Achenbaum, W. A. (1993). Gender and the development of wisdom. Human Development, 36 274-296. Orwoll, L., & Perlmutter, M. (1990). The study of wise persons : Integrating a personality perspective. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development (pp. 160-177). New York: Cambridge University Press. Pascual-Leone, J. (1990). An essay on wis dom: Toward organismic processes that make it possible. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development (pp. 244-278). New York: Cambridge University Press. Pasupathi, M., & Staudinger, U. M. (2001). Do advanced moral reasoners also show wisdom? Linking moral reasoning and wis dom-related knowledge and judgment. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25 401-415. Perlmutter, M., Adams, C., Ny quist, L., & Kaplan, C. (1988). Beliefs about wisdom Unpublished data. (Cited in Orwoll & Perlmuter, 1990).
142 Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (1993). Review of the Satisfaction With Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5 164-172. Ramsey, S. (1979). Double vision: Nonver bal behavior East and West. In A. Wolfgang (Ed.), Nonverbal behavior: Perspectives, applications, intercultural insights (pp. 139-171). Lewiston, NY: C. J. Hogrefe. Richardson, M. J., & Pasupathi, M. (2005) Young and growing wiser: Wisdom during adolescence and young adulthood. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Jordan (Eds.), A handbook of wisdom. Psychological perspectives (pp.139-159). New York: Cambridge University Press. Russell, B. (1968). The concept of happiness NY: Liverright Publishing Corp. Ryan, G.W., & Bernard, H.R. (2003) Techniques to identify themes. Field methods, 15 85-109. Shanas, E., & United States. (1982). National survey of the aged Washington, D.C: DHHS, Office of Human Development Services, Administration on Aging. Sharpe, P.A., Williams, H.G., Granner, M.L., Hussey, J.R. (2007) A randomized study of the effects of massage therapy com pared to guided relaxation on well-being and stress perception among older adults. Contemporary Therapies in Medicine, 15(3), 157-63. Shweder, R. A., Much, N. C., Mahapatra, M., & Park, L. (1997). The big three of morality (autonomy, community and divinity) and the big three explanations of suffering. In A. Brandt & P. Rozin (Eds.), Morality and health (pp. 119-169). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Singelis, T. M., & Brown, W. J. (1995). Culture, self, a nd collectivist communication: Linking culture to individual behavior. Human Communiation Research, 21 354389. Smith, J., & Baltes, P. B. (1990). Wisdom-related knowledge: Age/cohort differences in response to life-planning problems. Developmental Psychology, 26 (3), 494-505. Staudinger, U. M. (1996). Wis dom and the social-integrative foundation of the mind. In P. B. Baltes & U.M. Staudinger (Eds.), Integrative minds: Life-span perspectives on the social foundation of cognition (pp. 276-315). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Staudinger, U.M. (1999). Older and wiser? In tegrating results on the relationship between age and wisdom-related performance. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 23 641-664.
143 Staudinger, U.M. & Baltes, P.B. (1996). In teractive minds: A facilitative setting for wisdom-related performance? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71 746. Staudinger, U.M., Drner, J., & Mickler, C. (2005). Wisdom and per sonality. In R.J. Sternberg & J. Jordan (Eds.), A handbook of wisdom: Psychological perspectives (pp. 191-219). New York: Cambridge University Press. Staudinger, U. M., & Glck, J. (2011). P sychological wisdom research: Commonalities and differences in a growing field. Annual Review of Psychology 62 215. doi:10.1146/annurev .psych.121208.131659 Staudinger, U. M., Lopez, D. F., & Baltes, P. B. (1997). The psych ometric location of wisdom-related performance: Intelligence, performance, and more? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23 (11), 1200-1214. Staudinger, U.M., Maciel A.G., Smith, J., & Baltes, P. B. (1998). What predicts wisdomrelated performance: Intelligence, personality, and more? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 1200-1214. Staudinger, U. M., & Pasupathi M. (2003). Correlates of wisdom-related performance in adolescence and adulthood: Age-related pat hs towards desirable development. Journal for Research on Adolescence, 13 239-268. Staudinger, U. M., Smith, J., & Baltes, P. B. (1992). Wisdo m-related knowledge in a life review task: Age differences and the ro le of professional specialization. Psychology and Aging, 7, 271-281. Sternberg, R. J. ( 1985). Implicit theories of inte lligence, creativity, and wisdom. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49 (3), 607-627. Sternberg, R. J. (1990). Wisdom and its relations to intelli gence and creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Wisdom: Its nature, origins, and development (pp. 142-159). New York: Cambridge University Press. Sternberg, R. J. (1998). A balance theory of wisdom. Review of General Psychology, 2 (4), 347-365. Sternberg, R.J. (2005). Older but not wiser? The relation ship between age and wisdom. Ageing International, 30 (1), 5-26. Sternberg, R. J., & Jordan, J. (2005). A handbook of wisdom: Psychological perspectives New York: Cambridge University Press.
144 Takahashi, M., & Bordia, P. (2000). The concept of wisdom: A cross-cultural comparison. International Journal of Psychology, 35 (1), 1-9. Takahashi, M., & Overton, W. F. (2005). Cult ural foundations of wisdom: An integrated developmental approach. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Jordan (Eds.), A handbook of wisdom: Psychological perspectives (pp.32-60). New York: Cambridge University Press. Tashakkori, .A, & Teddlie, C. (Eds.). (2011). H andbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Tiberius, V. (2008). The reflective life: Li ving wisely with our limits Oxford University Press. Vaillant, G.E. (1993). The wisdom of ego. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Vaillant, G.E. (2002). Aging well. New York: Little, Brown and Company VERBI Software (2011). MAXQDA 10: The Art of Text Analysis. Introduction. VERBI Software. Consult. Soziaf orschung. GmbH, Harburg Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wink, P., & Dillon, M. (2002). Spiritual development across the adult life course: Findings from a longitudinal study. Journal of Adult Development, 9 (1), 79-94. Wink, P., & Dillon, M. (2003). Religiousness, spirituality, and psychos ocial functioning in late adulthood: Findings fr om a longitudinal study. Psychology and Aging, 18 (4), 916-924. Wink, P., & Dillon, M. (2013). Re ligion, spirituality, and pers onal wisdom: A tale of two types. In M. Ferrari & N. Weststrate (Eds.) The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom: Springer. Yang, S.Y. (2001). Conceptions of wisdom among Taiwanese Chinese. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32: 662. Yang, S. Y. (2013). From persons to positive influences : Exploring wisdom in real-life contexts. In M. Ferrari & N. Weststrate (Eds.) The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom: Springer.
145 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Hunhui Oh was born on Oct ober 9, 1974 in Geonnam prov idence, South Korea. He is the second child born to the Mi nister Moon-Taek Oh, and Choon-Duck Park. Hunhui Oh married Joohee Kim, older daughter of Si-lib Kim and Eui-Suek Gu on June 21, 2008. One child was born to Joo-hee Kim and Hunhui Oh: Noah Oh on January 19, 2011. Hunhui began his college educ ation at the Korea University in Sejong city, Chungnam providence, South Korea. After graduation, he worked at Nielson Corp. in Korea as a senior market analyst for thr ee years until 2007. In summer of 2007, he got into the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. to study social work with concentration on gerontology. There, he practiced social work at nursing faciliti es, a hospice, and an Asian community health agency over three years with various ethnic groups. In 2008, Hunhui Oh received an admission fr om the Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California, California, U.S. for his Ph.D. program. After spending the first year, he transfe rred to the University of Fl orida, Gainesville, Florida, U.S. to study wisdom under Dr Monika Ardelt in the depar tment of Sociology. As a Ph.D. student, Hunhui Oh received another ma ster degree (M.S.) besides M.S.W. (Masters in Social Work). He was scholarly involved by participating multiple academic conferences, including American Sociological Society, Gerontological Society of America, by winning a number of awards (e.g., Best Pr e-Dissertation Paper, Best Creative Quantitative Paper, et c.), and by having multiple publications. Hunhui Oh continues to pursue the professional academi c career as a teacher and research.