Older and Wiser? Integrating Results on the Relationship between Age and Wisdom-related Performance

Ursula M. Staudinger:

Evidence from a psychological approach to the study of wisdom is reviewed with regard to the relationship between age and wisdom. Between 20 and 75 years, age has been demonstrated to show a zero relation with wisdom-related knowledge and judgement. A complex pattern of person characteristics and experiential features have to coalesce in order for wisdom to emerge. However, it is not only growing experience that (on average) comes with age but also decreases in basic intellectual functioning and changes in the personality make-up that seem to undermine rather than facilitate the development of wisdom-related knowledge and judgement. However, there is also some evidence indicating that under certain supportive conditions it may indeed be older people who hold the greatest potential for wisdom.