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Are You A Wise Person? You Need These 7 Qualities, Research Says

Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Image by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy
December 4, 2021

What actually is "wisdom"? By definition, it's described as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment—and according to new research published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, there's a simple seven-item scale that can actually determine how wise someone is. Here's what they found.

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What really makes up "wisdom"?

To conduct this study, researchers wanted to build off of an existing scale for calculating wisdom, which included 28 questions. In this study, however, they shortened the list to seven questions, aptly based on the seven components that make up wisdom. Those components being:

  1. Self-reflection
  2. Pro-social behaviors (i.e., empathy and compassion)
  3. Emotional regulation
  4. Acceptance of diverse perspectives
  5. Decisiveness
  6. Social advising (i.e., giving helpful advice)
  7. Spirituality
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Researchers surveyed just over 2,000 participants to find out how closely they related to the seven components. For example, participants would rate the statement "I remain calm under pressure" on a scale from 1 to 5.

As senior author of the study Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., explains in a news release, "We selected the right type of questions to get important information that not only contributes to the advancement of science but also supports our previous data that wisdom correlates with health and longevity." 

What the research shows.

The seven components of wisdom—and the subsequent questions the participants were asked—have proved to be an accurate and reliable measure of wisdom. And sure, being considered wise can be a feather in your cap, but it's more than just a novel personality trait.

Wisdom has been found to have a strong correlation with things like happiness, resilience, and mental well-being. What's more? Jeste once told mbg that wisdom can be a powerful tool for combating loneliness, which has serious impacts on overall health.

And the good news? Those aforementioned seven components of wisdom can absolutely be cultivated, offering virtually everyone an accessible way to positively affect their well-being.

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The takeaway.

According to Jeste, this study shows "There are evidence-based interventions to increase levels of specific components of wisdom, which would help reduce loneliness and promote overall well-being." So, even if you don't feel like the wisest person, you can approach it as a work in progress and cultivate those qualities.

The bottom line is this: Wisdom is associated with well-being, and understanding the factors that comprise it offers a simple intervention to becoming more wise.

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Sarah Regan
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.