Weisheit als Gegenstand psychologischer Forschung
Wisdom, a concept rich in meaning and cultural history, is introduced as a topic of psychological research. The focus is on presenting an empirical paradigm for the assessment of wisdom-related performance. Similarities and differences of this paradigm with analyses of the cultural-historical wisdom literature, and other psychological approaches to the study of wisdom are discussed. In the presented paradigm, wisdom is defined as expertise in the fundamental pragmatics of life and operationalized as high-level knowledge and judgment with regard to difficult problems of life planning, life management, and life review. Five wisdom-related criteria (rich factual and procedural knowledge about life, life-span contextualism, value relativism, awareness and management of uncertainty) allow the assessment of the wisdom-related quality of a wide variety of products. The reported studies refer to a data base of think-aloud response protocols to wisdom-related tasks which are collected under standardized conditions. A model of antecedents, correlates and/or consequences of wisdom-related knowledge and judgment is presented. Empirical findings refering to specific parts of the model (e. g., the role of age, professional specialization, and the level of performance observed in wisdom nominees) suggested that wisdom-related performance can be assessed reliably, shows meaningful relationships with measures of intelligence and personality and allows to identify theory-consistent group differences. Finally, examples of relationships between wisdom research and other fields of psychological work (educational psychology, clinical psychology) are offered.