How wise we are varies dramatically according to the situations and is affected by factors like loneliness and togetherness, a new study has found.
The study defines wise reasoning as a combination of such abilities as intellectual humility, consideration of others’ perspective and looking for compromise.
“This research does not dismiss that there is a personality component to wisdom, but that is not the whole picture,” said Igor Grossmann from University of Waterloo in Canada.
“Situations in daily life affect our personality and ability to reason wisely,” said Grossmann.
The observation that wise reasoning varies dramatically across situations in daily life suggests that while it fluctuates, wisdom may not be as rare as we think, researchers said.
Further, for different individuals, only certain situations may promote this quality.
“There are many examples where people known for their critical acumen or expertise in ethics seem to fall prey to lack of such acumen or morals. The present findings suggest that those examples are not an anomaly,” said Grossmann.
“We cannot always be at the top of our game in terms of wisdom-related tendencies, and it can be dangerous to generalise based on whether people show wisdom in their personal life or when teaching others in the classroom,” he said.
The findings were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.