Wisdom in a complex world: Measurement, utility, and interventions
Philosophers argue that knowledge is insufficient for wisdom. Instead, they have argued that wisdom requires certain aspects of meta-cognition to flexibility navigate complex environments without a clearly-defined decision space: epistemic humility, consideration of multiple perspectives and ways a situation may unfold, observer viewpoint on a situation, and integration of different perspectives. First, I will showcase the psychological utility of these meta-cognitive processes for goal-management, well-being and prosociality. Next, I will examine situational contingencies inhibiting or promoting these aspects of meta-cognition in daily life. Results indicate that social contexts (e.g., being together with friends/work-colleagues) promote wise reasoning than non-social situations, self-focused contexts inhibit wise reasoning, and contexts promoting ego-decentered mindsets (e.g., generativity, self-distancing) sustain wise reasoning in self-focused situations. Within-person (state) differences in wisdom across situations also appear larger than between-person (trait) differences. At the end, I introduce a novel state-sensitive approach to measure wisdom-related meta-cognitions across both state and trait-level, allowing for ecological measurement of meta-cognitive processes in a cost-efficient and reliable, fashion.
Igor Grossmann is a world traveller. Born in the Soviet Union, and growing up in Ukraine and post-Berlin Wall Germany, he has seen first-hand the impact of complex systems on changes in people's beliefs and practices. His chief work concerns demystifying wisdom -- a “philosopher’s stone” in behavioural sciences. To this end, he uses innovative methods, including big data analytics, psychophysiology, diary surveys, and behavioural experiments. Igor Grossmann studied at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and at the University of Michigan, where he received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 2012. He is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Waterloo. His work has been published in such top outlets as PNAS, Proceedings of the Royal Academy: Biological Sciences, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, or Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.