Study Examines Gender Differences in Components That Contribute to Wisdom

A new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, examines gender differences in traits that contribute to wisdom.

Wisdom, according to the authors, is “an increasing area of interest in mental health disciplines due to its link with health, mental health, and well-being. They state that the following factors contribute to wisdom:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Control over one’s own emotions
  • Self-reflection
  • Accepting uncertainty
  • A diversity of perspectives
  • Decisiveness
  • Advising others who seek guidance
  • Spirituality

The researchers found that men had higher scores on emotional regulation and decisiveness, while women had higher scores on insight, tolerance of divergent values, pro-social behaviors, and social advising. The authors found “no significant difference between women and men in the overall wisdom score, indicating that the relative strengths and weaknesses of each group balanced out in the overall score.”

The authors state that both biological and environmental factors contribute to the variation in scores on various measures of wisdom. “Boys and men tend to be socialized toward behaviors including toughness and leadership, which may translate into being more decisive and in control of emotions, whereas girls and women tend to be socialized toward behaviors including warmth and caretaking, which may translate into pro-social behaviors including being compassionate and accepting of diverse people and ideas,” the authors write.

The full study, “Women and Men Differ in Relative Strengths in Wisdom Profiles,” was published in the journal Frontiers of Psychology. It is available here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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