Wisdom Is Gendered, Research Reveals

Wisdom Is Gendered News

Psychology News – A new study examines how gender influences wisdom in men and women. The researchers found that their differences in wisdom are based on various socio-cultural and biological factors.

A recent study reveals the gender differences that condition wisdom.

The study assesses how wisdom is gendered. It also attempts to understand gender’s moderating impact on the relationship between wisdom and associated constructs, such as well-being, optimism, resilience, depression, and loneliness.

The researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied 659 male and female participants aged 27–103 years. The participants completed multiple surveys, including the 3-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS) and the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE). The SD-WISE included 24 items related to six defined components of wisdom: emotional regulation, prosocial behaviors (empathy and compassion), self-reflection, acceptance of uncertainty, diversity of perspectives, decisiveness, and social advising. The 3D-WS contained 39 items covering three components of wisdom: cognitive, affective or compassionate/and reflective.

The findings, published in Frontiers in Psychology, reveal that men and women have different scores in different dimensions of wisdom. These relative differences are driven by socio-cultural and biological factors. However, these differences are not uniform, showing variation according to the subdomains of wisdom.

The results show that women scored higher on compassion, social advising, and self-reflection. Men scored higher on emotional regulation, decisiveness, and cognitive-related items. There is no impact of gender on the relationships between wisdom and associated constructs. In fact, in both cases, wisdom is associated with greater mental well-being, resilience, optimism, and lower levels of depression and loneliness.

In some ways, the study refutes older notions that treat wisdom as a gender-neutral construct. One of the lead authors, Emily Treichler, said, “There are several paths toward achieving a wise life. People approach wisdom differently and looking at gender is one way to assess those potential differences.”

This research can help reap health benefits, develop individual and social values, and address gender-based problems. More significantly, based on these findings, effective psycho-social and behavioral interventions can be formulated to manage wisdom and cognitive abilities.

The study, however, was limited in scope. It was cross-sectional rather than longitudinal. It also failed to take into account the wisdom profiles of different people across the gender spectrum.

To Know More You May Refer To

Treichler, Emily & Palmer, Barton & Wu, Tsung-Chin & Thomas, Michael & Tu, Xin & Daly, Rebecca & Lee, Ellen & Jeste, Dilip. (2022). Women and Men Differ in Relative Strengths in Wisdom Profiles: A Study of 659 Adults Across the Lifespan. Frontiers in Psychology. 12. 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.769294.

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