Cognitive Mechanisms of Wise Reasoning Across the Adult Lifespan
Darboh, Bri Susanna
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Investigations have begun to unpack the cognitive architecture of wisdom, yet, controversies remain, including disparate notions of the role of memory. There is no agreed upon definition of wisdom; however, there is consensus that wisdom involves expert knowledge grounded in life experience, suggesting memory is integral to wisdom. We predicted that though wisdom remains stable, the cognitive mechanisms may differ with agewisdom and memory would be positively associated, with episodic memory contributing more in young. We administered measures of general and personal wisdom to young and old, and measures of episodic and semantic memory. Three crucial findings emerged. First, the importance of making a priori distinctions between personal and general wisdom is highlighted. Second, while general wisdom remains stable, personal wisdom is augmented with increasing age. Finally, episodic and semantic memory were positive predictors of personal wisdom, and the effect of episodic memory was more robust in young adults.