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Age Differences in Wisdom-Related Knowledge: Does the Age Relevance of the Task Matter?

Age Differences in Wisdom-Related Knowledge: Does the Age Relevance of the Task Matter? Objectives.Contrary to lay theories, past work does not suggest robust age differences in wisdom-related knowledge across the adult life span. This study investigated a potential moderator of age differences in wisdom-related knowledge: The age relevance of a given wisdom task.Method.To test this moderator, 192 participants covering the adult life span were asked to think aloud about a traditional vignette-based wisdom task with no particular age relevance and about newly developed tasks of problems that arguably are particularly salient in young adulthood, namely, marital conflicts. These tasks were presented as vignette and as naturalistic video clips.Results.Replicating earlier work, there were no linear age differences in wisdom-related knowledge as elicited by the traditional age-neutral wisdom task. However, both vignette-based and video-based tasks about marital conflict elicited greater wisdom-related knowledge in younger than in older adults. Young adults’ greater actual experience and openness to marital conflict contributed to these age differences.Discussion.This study provides evidence for the idea that age differences in wise reasoning about fundamental life issues depend on the relevance of age-normative problems in individuals’ own lives. This suggests that any phase of life offers opportunities for the attainment of wisdom-related strengths as long as an individual is willing and able to actively engage in life’s ongoing challenges. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences Oxford University Press

Age Differences in Wisdom-Related Knowledge: Does the Age Relevance of the Task Matter?

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References (48)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
ISSN
1079-5014
eISSN
1758-5368
DOI
10.1093/geronb/gbt076
pmid
24013799
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Objectives.Contrary to lay theories, past work does not suggest robust age differences in wisdom-related knowledge across the adult life span. This study investigated a potential moderator of age differences in wisdom-related knowledge: The age relevance of a given wisdom task.Method.To test this moderator, 192 participants covering the adult life span were asked to think aloud about a traditional vignette-based wisdom task with no particular age relevance and about newly developed tasks of problems that arguably are particularly salient in young adulthood, namely, marital conflicts. These tasks were presented as vignette and as naturalistic video clips.Results.Replicating earlier work, there were no linear age differences in wisdom-related knowledge as elicited by the traditional age-neutral wisdom task. However, both vignette-based and video-based tasks about marital conflict elicited greater wisdom-related knowledge in younger than in older adults. Young adults’ greater actual experience and openness to marital conflict contributed to these age differences.Discussion.This study provides evidence for the idea that age differences in wise reasoning about fundamental life issues depend on the relevance of age-normative problems in individuals’ own lives. This suggests that any phase of life offers opportunities for the attainment of wisdom-related strengths as long as an individual is willing and able to actively engage in life’s ongoing challenges.

Journal

The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social SciencesOxford University Press

Published: Nov 7, 2014

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