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An opportunity to reason wisely

Wise Reasoning in the Face of Everyday Life Challenges

Igor Grossmann, Tanja M. Gerlach, Jaap J. A. Denissen

Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2016

Research details

Type of paper: Primary Empirical Study

Sample size: 176

Open Access: No


How stable vs. dynamic is wisdom in daily life? We conducted a daily diary study of wise reasoning (WR) by recording people’s reflections on daily challenges in terms of three facets: intellectual humility, self-transcendence, and consideration of others’ perspectives/compromise. We observed substantial and systematic intraindividual variability in WR, with wiser reasoning in the social versus nonsocial contexts. State-level WR variability was potent in predicting a bigger-picture construal of the event, more positive (vs. negative) emotions, greater emotional complexity, lower emotional reactivity, less thought suppression, and more reappraisal and forgiveness. In contrast, on the trait level, we observed only a few associations to emotional complexity and reappraisal. We discuss implications for conceptualization and measurement of wisdom-related thought.