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9: OCT 4


Baltes & Smith, "Toward a Psychology of Wisdom and its Ontegenesis" 1990

  • Motivations for the Berlin Paradigm's research:
  • study of peak performance,
  • positive aspects of aging, General discussion question: Aren't the lessons from aging well confined to that time of the lifespan?
  • work on intelligence that reflects a concern with context and life pragmatics, Baltes & Smith p. 87
  • Point on method in discussion of problem of giving a scientific treatment of wisdom, p. 89. Wittgenstein quote. Baltes acknowledges that there are limits and differences in studying wisdom, for example, need to compare results with lived experience of wisdom. Not typical in science.
  • Fundamental assumption #1: Wisdom is an "expert knowledge system"
  • Fundamental assumption:#2: A dual-process model of intelligence (Mechanics / Pragmatics) is most relevant to understanding wisdom. Focus on p. 94 figure 5.1. Mechanics of intelligence decline, but pragmatics increase over time.
  • Fundamental assumption #3: Wisdom is about life pragmatics, understood as life planning, management, review. (Note. This is easily expanded to "wise social groups" and "wise cultures".
  • Wisdom defined as "expert knowledge involving good judgement and advice in the domain, fundamental pragmatics of life" 95
  • Small Group Discussion: When you think about times in your life when you have managed your life well, what specific things or practices have contributed to that? Try to give examples. Does it makes sense to think of this as a form or expertise that you are acquiring?
  • The "Baltes Five" Criteria Construct for Wisdom:
  • Rich factual knowledge: Accumulation of knowledge which facilitates predictive ability to see how relationships, causes, and meanings will interact in a situation. "a representation of the expected sequential flow of events in a particular situation" Both general: knowing "how people work", for example; and specific: knowing how a particular person might respond or think about something; how a particular life problem tends to go. Also, factual knowledge about the world and human psychology.
  • Rich procedural knowledge: accumulation of knowledge which facilitates understanding of strategies of problem solving, advice seeking. "A repertoire of mental procedures." (This would include characteristic biases and ways that knowledge seeking goes wrong.)
  • (Not in article, but add in) Recognizing cognitive bias and "narrative opacity" in self. Fundamental Attribute Error (FAE), intuition discount, motivated reasoning ("Can I believe it/Must I believe it?"))
  • Life span contextualism: understanding a problem in awareness of it's place in the life span. Knowing what part of your life you are in and understanding it's challenges for your goals. Think about how the model will change after graduation. (Question: Can you identify ways in which the pandemic or trends pushing marriage toward 30 have created challenges?)
  • Relativism: Understanding and taking into account the range of values, goals, and priorities that specific human lives embody. (Example of lack of wisdom: People who have trouble believing that "people can be like that." Also, cultural naivete.)
  • Uncertainty: awareness of limits of knowledge in general and in particular factual cases. but also "strategies for managing and dealing with uncertainty" 103. (Brief acknowledgement of uncertainty in the 2nd quarter and the 4th!)
  • Two sets of predictions:
  • Wisdom has a culturally accessible and commonly held meaning
  • Ontogenesis of wisdom in general, specific, and modifying factors (Fig 5.2)
  • Research on everyday concepts of wisdom (106)
  • Implicit theories (Holiday and Chandler)
  • Sworka - good character increasingly associated with wisdom by older test subjects
  • Research on wisdom as expert knowledge (108)
  • Follow preliminary findings 110