Wisdom has always been considered an admirable attribute of personality, but has remained a rather abstract concept due to the complexity of its nature. Life span developmentalists began to study wisdom as an example of positive aging, but it was difficult to study the concept scientifically and test concrete hypotheses. In 2003, a questionnaire measuring wisdom was developed; the Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale (SAWS). This scale is revolutionary and vital to researchers studying the concept of wisdom.
The Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale measures wisdom across the entire adult lifespan from eighteen to eighty-eight years. Wisdom develops and evolves throughout the entire lifespan because of the constant intellectual, social and emotional growth. The items for SAWS were written specifically for five interrelated dimensions of wisdom: emotional regulation, humor, critical life experiences, life reflection, and openness to experience.
Wisdom can now have concrete definitions and understandings, rather than abstract answers based on conceptualizations and discussions. We are able to scientifically assess the presence of wisdom in the individual, which allows us to grasp a new level of understanding on what the concept of wisdom really entails.
"Is it a fool's errand to try to capture wisdom within the parameters of a paper-and-pencil questionairre? Can such a rich, dynamic and elusive concept be reduced to a total score from a self-assessed survey?"
What do you think?