According to the Oxford English Dictionary, wisdom is the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. But such a definition only scratches the surface. The field of psychology seeks to understand wisdom in greater depth. Theories of wisdom are of two major kinds: implicit and explicit theories. Implicit theories are laypeople’s conceptions of wisdom. Such folk conceptions are informed by people’s lived experiences.

Implicit Theories of Wisdom

Research on implicit theories of wisdom has explored the dimensions underlying people’s different conceptions of wisdom. Research has shown that people of different age groups describe a wise person as experienced, pragmatic, empathic, intelligent, and observant. Three components of wisdom underlie people’s views: reflective (e.g., introspection, intuition), affective (e.g., compassion, ...

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