Who Have More Wisdom, Men Or Women? This Study Provides Answers

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New Delhi: Wisdom is a personality trait underpinning mental health and well-being, according to previous studies. Recently, researchers at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) looked at gender differences relative to wisdom, using two different validated scales.

The study was published on February 3 in the online edition of the peer-reviewed open-access academic journal, Frontiers in Psychology.

In the study, the researchers assessed gender differences in wisdom and associated constructs, including depression, loneliness, well-being, resilience, and optimism.

Components Of Wisdom Considered In The Study

As many as 659 community participants were involved in the study. Aged 27 to 103, the participants had completed both the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE) and the 3-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3-D-WS), the study said.

The researchers included 24 items related to six defined components of wisdom in the SD-WISE. These components are: pro-social behaviours (empathy and compassion), emotional regulation, self-reflection, acceptance of uncertainty and diversity of perspectives, decisiveness and social advising, the study said.

The 3-D-WS includes 39 items covering three dimensions of wisdom: cognitive, affective or compassionate, and reflective.

Who Have More Wisdom, Men Or Women?

The study found that, in general, women scored higher on compassion-related items and on self-reflection while men scored higher on cognititive-relative items and emotional regulation. The total 3-D-WS score was higher in women than in men, but there was no gender difference in the total score on the SD-WISE, the study said. This means that women scored more than men on the compassionate, and reflective dimensions of wisdom. However, there was no gender difference in the total score on the SD-WISE, which contains 24 items related to six-defined components of wisdom.

Wisdom was associated with greater mental well-being, optimism, and resilience, and lower levels of depression and loneliness in both men and women.

Senior author Dilip V Jeste said that the researchers wanted to gain information on potential differences in wisdom between men and women that could impact well being, according to a statement issued by UC San Diego.

He added that they found that women and men have different relative strengths in wisdom, likely driven by both socio-cultural and biological factors.

Emily Treichler, first author of the study, said that their latest findings are only a piece of the overall puzzle, and that there are several paths toward achieving a wise life. She said that people approach wisdom differently and looking at gender is one way to assess those potential differences.

Treichler added that having a better understanding of wisdom and how to improve it has health benefits and value for individuals and society. She further said that other studies have shown that the levels of certain components of wisdom like empathy or compassion and emotional regulation can be increased with appropriate psycho-social and behavioral interventions.

She added that studies such as theirs may help tailor wisdom interventions to individuals based on specific characteristics.

The authors emphasised there were some limitations in the study. These included the fact that the study did not look at the wisdom profiles of non-binary people or ask people whether they identify as transgender.

Jeste said that more work needs to be done, but the researchers need to take what they have learnt and apply it to future studies to make the results applicable to different groups. He said that the ultimate goal should be to promote healthier lives.

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