Wisdom Profiles Series

The Wisdom Profiles Series is a collection of interviews with leading researchers in the field of Wisdom research or related fields. All participants are working to increase our understanding of wisdom and its place in the modern world.


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Monika Ardelt

Associate Professor of Sociology

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On Wisdom and Culture, meditation and ageing and dying well

Monika Ardelt is an Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Florida. Her research interests include Adult Human Development and Ageing and Dying well. For the last 25 years or so, she has been at the cutting edge of Wisdom Research. Professor Ardelt is also responsible for the development of the highly respected and widely used Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale. Here she speaks about her experiences in the field of Wisdom Research, the growth of the field itself, the role of wisdom in ageing and dying well and the possible role meditation might play in the development of wisdom.

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Michel Ferrari

Associate Professor of Psychology

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On Teaching for Wisdom

Michel Ferrari is an Associate Professor in the Department of Developmental Psychology & Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He is also director of Wisdom and Identity Center. His research interests include personal wisdom in people of different ages and from different cultures around the world. He has also edited a number of important books in the field, including The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom and Teaching for Wisdom. He spoke with evidencebasedwisdom about teaching for wisdom and creating wisdom-nurturing classrooms. He also talked about importance of the narrative mode and the role of experience, the many different faces of wisdom and the importance of seeking the broadest cultural frame in our conceptions of wisdom.

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Igor Grossmann

Associate Professor of Psychology

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On Wisdom and Real Decisions

Igor Grossmann is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Wisdom and Research Lab based at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. His main research interest is the complex processes that enable individuals to think and act wisely. He has also done pioneering work on the development of wisdom in different cultures. Dr. Grossmann was named one of the 2015 Rising Stars in the field of Psychological Science.

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Dilip Jeste

Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences

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On the Neurobiology of Wisdom

Dr. Dilip V. Jeste is Director of The Stein Institute for Research on Ageing, and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, and a neuropsychiatrist with particular specialism in successful aging and schizophrenia. He is also a former president of the American Psychiatric Association. He has published a number of influential papers detailing the neural activity associated with wise behaviours (click here and here to read more) and you can watch his fascinating TED talk Seeking Wisdom in Graying Matter by clicking here. He spoke with evidencebasedwisdom about parallels between modern and ancient conceptions of wisdom, the grandma hypothesis of wisdom and the six components of wisdom highlighted by his research. He also outlined his family model of the wise brain, and delved into the future possibility of technological and biological wisdom-enhancing interventions.

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Eeva K. Kallio

Adjunct Professor of Adult Development

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On Wisdom and Integrative Thinking

EEVA K. KALLIO PhD is an adjunct professor in the University of Jyväskylä and University of Tampere, Finland. She is a founding member and the first president of ESRAD (European Society for Research on Adult Development) . She is also team leader of the ADULTE-WISE research team in University of Jyväskylä. Her main research interests relate to the development of adult integrative (i.e. relativistic-dialectical) thinking. In 2016, she became a founding member of the new European Wisdom Research, Learning and Development Network Sophia and Phronesis.

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 Bruce Lloyd

Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management

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On Wisdom and Business

Bruce Lloyd has published over 200 articles on a wide-range of strategy and futures-related issues, including leadership, organisational performance, knowledge management and wisdom. Here he discusses the need for companies to adopt wise principles in business management and the importance of positive conversations.

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Howard Nusbaum

Professor of Psychology

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On Wisdom, Language and Attention

Howard Nusbaum is Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago and Director of The Center for Practical Wisdom. He is also the Director of The Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Whilst Co-director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, he also co-directed the Defining Wisdom Project (2007-2011) and was Principal Investigator for the Wisdom Research Project (2012-2015). His research interests include wisdom, attention, learning and language. He spoke with evidencebasedwisdom about wise decision-making, the relationship between ballet and wisdom, the importance of attention, and the surprising role of the supreme court in the new field of wisdom research.

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Robert Sternberg

Professor of Human Development

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On Wisdom and Foolishness

Robert Sternberg, a veritable polymath of psychology, is Professor of Human Development at Cornell University. A former president of the American Psychological Association, he has developed successful theories of intelligencecreativity and even love. In the field of wisdom research, he is renowned for his Balance Theory of Wisdom. Click here to read a key paper in which he argues that universities place too much value on intelligence and ignore the importance of creativity and wisdom in education, proposing that a synthesis of wisdom, intelligence and creativity would better prepare students to maximize their positive future impact in the world. He spoke with evidencebasedwisdom about intelligent fools, inequality and getting serious about wisdom in education.

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Jeffrey Dean Webster

Professor of Psychology

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On Wisdom, Humour and Critical Life Experiences

Jeffrey Dean Webster, PhD is an instructor of Psychology at Langara College in Vancouver, Canada. He is a founding member of both the Society for Research in Human Development and the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review. He is also responsible for the development of the widely used SAWS (Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale). He spoke with evidencebasedwisdom about how he developed the SAWS and the associated HERO(E) model of wisdom. He also talked about the overlooked role of humour in wisdom, the types of experiences that do and don’t nurture wisdom in ageing and discussed the possible role a balanced time perspective might play in the development of wisdom.

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