Wisdom-related knowledge: Age/cohort differences in response to life-planning problems

A research framework and method are presented in which wisdom is conceived as expert knowledge about fundamental life matters. Five criteria of wisdom are specified: Rich factual and procedural knowledge, life-span contextualism, relativism, and the recognition and management of uncertainty. As illustration, discourse about normative and nonnormative life-planning problems associated with different life phases was examined. Verbal think-aloud protocols, collected from 60 Ss (25-35, 40-50 and 60-81 yrs of age), were scored on the wisdom criteria by trained raters. As expected, few (5%) responses were considered wise. These wise responses were equally distributed across age groups. In general, wisdom-related knowledge appears to be one cognitive domain in adulthood that does not show an overall advantage to one age or cohort group but rather reflects individual and specific life experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)