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The MORE Life Experience Model: A Theory of the Development of Personal Wisdom

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Abstract

We all experience challenges in our lives, and probably most of us feel we have learned something from the challenges we have encountered. But why do some (few) people learn things that make them wiser over their life course - while others become (or remain) rigid, bitter, depressed, superficially content, or overly selfinvolved? Little theoretical and even less empirical work has directly addressed how wisdom might develop over a lifetime. In this chapter, we present a conceptual model of the development of wisdom, based on previous research and theory concerning wisdom, life-span development, growth from negative experiences, autobiographical memory, and the life story. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013. All rights are reserved.
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... 127). Glück and Bluck (2013) define wisdom as a body of experience-based knowledge about fundamental life issues that is both broad and deep as well as explicit and implicit. Grossman et al. (2020) posit how wisdom considers different perspectives on issues as well as how to integrate them. ...
... Integrative complexity, also known as cognitive complexity (Fearon and Boyd-MacMillan, 2016), is the ability to differentiate among different dimensions of an issue and integrate the various aspects together (Conway et al., 2018). Since one characteristic of wisdom is the ability to integrate different elements of an issue together (Basseches, 1984;Sternberg, 1998;Yang, 2014;Grossmann, 2017;Grossman et al., 2020) while another involves effectively processing complexity (Glück and Bluck, 2013;Weststrate and Glück, 2017), the concept of integrative complexity seems appropriate to include in the scholarly discourse on wisdom. In addition to conceptual relevance, empirical research shows similarity in the benefits of integrative complexity and the benefits of wisdom. ...
... Here, each stage is more maturely evolved than the previous, as there are adaptive transformations on a fundamental level of four interconnected dimensions of the personality: integrative complexity, interpersonal relationships, impulse control, and conscious preoccupations. The first two dimensions, integrative complexity and interpersonal relationships, are especially relevant to wisdom since wisdom is associated with integrating ideas in one's context (Sternberg, 1985), integrating deeper insight into generally known facts (Ardelt, 1997(Ardelt, , 2003, integrating different opinions and perspectives (Yang, 2014), confronting the complexities of life (Glück and Bluck, 2013), better social relationships and interpersonal wellbeing (Grossmann et al., 2013), empathic and benevolent perspective taking (Ardelt, 1997(Ardelt, , 2003, and prosocial behavior (Jeste and Lee, 2019). Although integrative complexity's relevance to wisdom involves predominantly the first two dimensions listed here, a premise of Loevinger's framework is that these 4 dimensions of the maturing self in AED are inseparably interconnected. ...
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There has been much progress in the scientific study of wisdom on both conceptual and empirical fronts in the past few decades. Despite all the progress being made, there are still gaps that can be filled to provide even more explanatory power and coherence. Although academic discourse on wisdom has included the ability to integrate issues in a complex manner, there is still room for improved theorizing on wisdom's integrative complexity. Since integrative complexity has both conscious and unconscious dimensions, including the latter in discussions on wisdom will add a valuable aspect to its conceptualization. This article will argue how unconscious integrative complexity is the variable in wisdom's conceptual equation that involves paradox, which is a well-known sign of wisdom. Explanations contrasting conscious integrative complexity and unconscious integrative complexity in reference to wisdom will be discussed. Then, the Archetypal Test of the Nine Elements will be proposed as a testing instrument to operationalize unconscious integrative complexity. After the conceptualization and operationalization are worked through, we will conclude with a couple examples to illustrate our reflections.
... Research examining other global disasters (e.g., the Great Recession) also evidences prolonged consequences jeopardizing well-being of populations at different ages (Shores & Steinberg, 2019). Another useful framework might be life experience theory (e.g., Baltes et al., 1999;Rosenthal, 1993), which suggests that moving across adolescence and emerging adulthood, people are exposed to a wide range of experiences, and the cumulative experiences (particularly those stress-related, negative life events; see Gluck & Bluck, 2013) would contribute to subsequent individual development. Related to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, how individuals perceive and understand this defining global health crisis would be impactful on their daily stress and moods. ...
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The Psychology of Wisdom: An Introduction is the first comprehensive coursebook on wisdom, providing an engaging, balanced, and expert introduction to the psychology of wisdom. It provides a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the psychological science of wisdom, covering wide-ranging perspectives. Each chapter includes extensive pedagogy, including a summary, a glossary, bolded terms, practical applications, discussion questions, and a brief description of the authors' research. Topics include the philosophical foundations, folk conceptions, and psychological theories of wisdom; relations of wisdom to morality and ethics, to personality and well-being, to emotion; wisdom and leadership, wisdom and social policy. These topics are covered in a non-technical, bias-free, and student-friendly manner. Written by the most eminent experts in the field, this is the definitive coursebook for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as interested professionals and researchers.
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