Study Tries to Define Wisdom

SAN DIEGO, May 10 (UPI) — U.S. researchers surveyed 60 experts on human wisdom who agreed wisdom is a distinct entity with a number of characteristic qualities.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, led by Dr. Dilip Jeste and Dr. Thomas Meeks asked the experts about six statements and the importance of 47 components such as realism and willingness to forgive.

Jeste, Meeks and colleagues used the Delphi method — developed by the Rand Corp. in the 1950s — based on the principle forecasts from a structured group of experts are more accurate than those from unstructured groups or individuals.

The study, published in The Gerontologist, suggested wisdom is uniquely human, a form of advanced cognitive and emotional development that is experience-driven, a personal quality — albeit rare, that can be learned, increase with age and be measured, and probably is not enhanced by taking medication.

“One survey, of course, cannot fully and completely define wisdom,” Jeste said in a statement. “The value here is that there was considerable agreement among experts that wisdom is indeed a distinct entity with a number of characteristic qualities including — compassion, self-understanding, morality and emotional stability.”

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