Wisdom Research Publications & Resources

Wisdom Research Tools & Measures

Selected Publications on Wisdom Measurement

Empirical assessment of a three-dimensional wisdom scale
Ardelt, M. (2003). Empirical assessment of a three-dimensional wisdom scale. Research on Aging, 25(3), 275-324. [link]

Wisdom: A metaheuristic (pragmatic) to orchestrate mind and virtue toward excellence
Baltes, P. B., & Staudinger, U. M. (2000). Wisdom: A metaheuristic (pragmatic) to orchestrate mind and virtue toward excellence. American Psychologist, 55, 122-136. [pdf]

Defining and assessing wisdom: A review of the literature
Bangen K.J., Meeks, T.W., & Jeste, D.V. (2013). Defining and assessing wisdom: A review of the literature. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21(12), 1254-1266. [link]

"Commonly cited subcomponents of wisdom included knowledge of life, prosocial values, self-understanding, acknowledgment of uncertainty, emotional homeostasis, tolerance, openness, spirituality, and sense of humor."

How to measure wisdom: Content, reliability, and validity of five measures
Glück, J., König, S., Naschenweng, K., Redzanowski, U., Dorner, L., Straβer, I. & Wiedermann, W. (2013). How to measure wisdom: Content, reliability, and validity of five measures. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 405. [link]

Self-Transcendence: Conceptualization and Measurement
Levenson, M.R., Jennings, P.A., Aldwin, C.M., & Shiraishi, R.W. (2005). Self-Transcendence: Conceptualization and Measurement. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 60(2), 127-143. [pdf]

Comparing the Psychometric Properties of Two Measures of Wisdom
Taylor, M., Bates, G., & Webster, J.D. (2011). Comparing the Psychometric Properties of Two Measures of Wisdom: Predicting Forgiveness and Psychological Well-Being with the Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale (SAWS) and the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS). Experimental Aging Research, 37(2), 129-41. [link]

Measuring the character strength of wisdom
Webster, J.D. (2007). Measuring the character strength of wisdom. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 65(2), 163-183. [link]

Wisdom Measurement Tools

Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale
How wise are you? Monika Ardelt, a sociology professor at the University of Florida, developed a questionnaire that attempts to measure wisdom in individuals. The questionnaire contains 39 statements in three dimensions - cognitive, reflective and affective. To complete the measure and view your wisdom score, follow this link to begin: Click here >>

The Brief Wisdom Screening Scale
Glück, J., König, S., Naschenweng, K., Redzanowski, U., Dorner, L., Straβer, I. & Wiedermann, W. (2013) How to measure wisdom: Content, reliability, and validity of five measures. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 405. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00405 [link]

See Table 6. The brief wisdom screening scale: 20 items with the highest correlations (r) to the general "self-reported wisdom" factor.

Wise-Reasoning Questions
Grossmann, I., & Kross, E. (2014). Exploring "Solomon's paradox": Self-distancing eliminates the self-other asymmetry in wise reasoning about close relations in younger and older adults. Psychological Science, 1-10. [link]

See Table 1. Wise-Reasoning Questions Used in Studies 1 Through 3. Wise reasoning questions are grouped in four categories: 1. Recognition of the limits of one's own knowledge; 2. Search for a compromise; 3. Consideration of other people's perspectives; and 4. Recognition of change/multiple ways the events may unfold.

Wisdom-related Tasks
Staudinger, U.M. & Baltes, P.B. (1996). Interactive minds: A facilitative setting for wisdom-related performance? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71 (4), 746-762. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.71.4.746 [link]

Appendices include three problem texts: Suicide Problem, Meaning-of-life Problem, and the Family Problem.

Subcomponents of Wisdom and Related Tasks & Measures

Emotion Regulation

Emotion Regulation Questionnaire
Gross, J. J. & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348-362. [link]

This questionnaire includes 10 items answered on a 7-point Likert scale. It addresses the degree to which individuals rely on strategies of suppression and reappraisal in regulating their emotions. The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire is available in multiple languages. Click here >>

Emotion Contagion Scale
Doherty, R. W. (1997). The Emotional contagion scale: A measure of individual differences. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 21, pp. 131-154. [link]

The Emotional Contagion Scale is a 15-item index that aims to measure individual differences in susceptibility to catching the emotions of other individuals. It examines mimetic tendency to five basic emotions (love, happiness, fear, anger, and sadness). The EC Scale is intended for use across a wide range of settings, samples, and studies. It can be quickly administered and scored within five minutes.

Toronto Alexithymia Scale
Bagby, R.M., Parker, J.D.A. & Taylor, G. J. (1994). The twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale-I. Item selection and cross-validation of the factor structure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 38 (1), 23-32. [link]

This 20-item scale measures deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions. Copyright fees required. [link]

State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults
Spielberger, C.D. (1983). State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto (CA): Consulting Psychologists Press.

"The STAI Form Y is the definitive instrument for measuring anxiety in adults. It differentiates between the temporary condition of "state anxiety" and the more general and long-standing quality of "trait anxiety". It helps professionals distinguish between a client's feelings of anxiety and depression. Adapted in more than forty languages, the STAI has forty questions with a range of four possible responses to each..." [link]

Compassion & Prosociality

Self-Compassion: A Healthier Way of Relating to Yourself
Dr. Kristin Neff, Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture, Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin, is author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (2011). Her website provides information and resources about self-compassion, and is intended for students, researchers, and the general public. How self-compassionate are you? Click here >>

Prosocial Personality Battery
Penner, L.A., Fritzsche, B.A., Craiger, J.P., & Freifeld, T.R. (1995). Measuring the prosocial personality. In J. Butcher & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.) Advances in personality assessment.(Vol. 10). Hillsdale, NJ: LEA. [link]

This 30-item questionnaire is designed to measure the effect of personality traits on prosocial thoughts, feelings, and actions. [link to measure] Note from author: There is no copyright, but please let me know before you use this scale. I'd like to keep track of who is using it and how. The 56 item version is probably more reliable. Louis A. Penner can be reached at pennerl@karmanos.org.

Theory of Mind & Empathy

Reading the Mind in the Eyes
Baron-Cohen, S., Wheetwright, S., Hill, J., Raste, Y., & Plumb, I. (2001). The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" test revised version: A study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning Autism. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 42, 241-251. [link]

This 36-item measure assesses empathic accuracy, or one's ability to accurately attribute an internal emotional or mental state to a target. Subjects view a series of black and white pictures of the eye region of a face. Participants are then asked to choose which of four words best describes what the person in each photograph is thinking or feeling. To find out how well you read the emotions of others, Click here >>

Short Story Task
Dodell-Feder, D., Lincoln, S.H., Coulson, J.P., & Hooker, C.I. (2013). Using Fiction to Assess Mental State Understanding: A New Task for Assessing Theory of Mind in Adults. PlosONe, 8 (11), e81279. [link]

"Social functioning depends on the ability to attribute and reason about the mental states of others - an ability known as theory of mind (ToM). Research in this field is limited by the use of tasks in which ceiling effects are ubiquitous, rendering them insensitive to individual differences in ToM ability and instances of subtle ToM impairment. Here, we present data from a new ToM task - the Short Story Task (SST) - intended to improve upon many aspects of existing ToM measures."

Spontaneous Theory of Mind Protocol (STOMP)
Rice, K. & Redcay, E. (2014). Spontaneous mentalizing captures variability in the cortical thickness of social brain regions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu081. [link]

Director Task
Wu, S. & Keysar, B. (2007). The Effect of Culture on Perspective Taking. Psychological Science, 18 (7), 600-606. [link]

"People consider the mental states of other people to understand their actions. We evaluated whether such perspective taking is culture dependent. People in collectivistic cultures (e.g., China) are said to have inter- dependent selves, whereas people in individualistic cultures (e.g., the United States) are said to have independent selves. To evaluate the effect of culture, we asked Chinese and American pairs to play a communication game that required perspective taking..." [link]

Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy
Reniers, R.L., Corcoran, R., Drake, R., Shryane, N.M., Völlm, B.A. (2011). The QCAE: A questionnaire of cognitive and affective empathy. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93 (1), 84-95. [link]

A 31-item questionnaire, answered on a 7-point Likert scale, designed to assess both the cognitive and affective domains of empathy.

The Jefferson Scale of Empathy
The Jefferson Scale of Empathy was developed by researchers at the Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care at Sidney Kimmel Medical College to measure empathy in physicians and other health professionals (HP/Physician version), medical students (S-version), and health professional students (HPStudent version). [link]

Interpersonal Reactivity Index
Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113-126. [pdf]

This 28-item survey is a measure of dispositional empathy that takes as its starting point the notion that empathy consists of a set of separate but related constructs. The instrument contains four seven-item subscales, each tapping a separate facet of empathy. [link]

Empathy for Pain Task
Jackson, P.L., Meltzoff, A.N., & Decety, J. (2005). How do we perceive the pain of others? A window into the neural processes involved in empathy. NeuroImage, 24 (3), 771-779. [link]

Insight, Creativity, & Openness to Experience

Problem-solving Measures
Chrysikou, E.G. (2006). When shoes become hammers: Goal-derived categorization training enhances problem-solving performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(4), 935. [link]

The author reviews several pre-problem-solving measures and insight problem-solving measures.

Cognitive abilities involved in insight problem solving
DeYoung, C.G., Flanders, J.L., & Peterson, J.B. (2008). Cognitive abilities involved in insight problem solving: An individual differences model. Creativity Research Journal, 20 (3), 278-290. [link]

"This study investigated individual differences in cognitive abilities that contribute to solving insight problems. A model is proposed describing three types of cognitive ability that contribute independently to insight: convergent thinking, divergent thinking, and breaking frame..."

Aha! The cognitive neuroscience of insight
Kounios, J., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2009). Aha! The cognitive neuroscience of insight. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 210-216. [pdf]

Compound Remote Associates Problems
Bowden, E.M. & Jung-Beeman, M. (2003b). Normative data for 144 compound remote associate problems. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35, 634-639. [link]

Number Reduction Task
Haider, H. & Rose, M. (2007). How to investigate insight: A proposal. Methods, 42(1), 49-57. [link]

Decision Making and Dealing with Uncertainty & Ambiguity

Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART)
Lejuez, C.W., Read, J.P., Kahler, C.W., Richards, J.B., Ramsey, S.E., Stuart, G.L., Strong, D.R, & Brown, R.A. (2002). Evaluation of a behavioral measure of risk taking: The Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8, 75-84. [link]

"The Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) is a computerized measure of risk taking behavior. The BART models real-world risk behavior through the conceptual frame of balancing the potential for reward versus loss..." [link]

Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale-II (MSTAT-II)
McLain, D.L. (1993). The MSTAT-II: A new measure of an individual's tolerance for ambiguity. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53(1), 183-189. [link]

MSTAT-II is a 13-item measure of ambiguity tolerance based on a definition of ambiguity tolerance as an orientation, ranging from aversion to attraction, toward stimuli that are complex, unfamiliar, and insoluble.

Need for Closure Scale
Roets, A., & Van Hiel, A. (2011). Item selection and validation of a brief, 15-item version of the need for closure scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(1), 90-94. [link]

The Need for Closure Scale was designed to assess individuals' "motivation with respect to information processing and judgment." Need for cognitive closure is defined as a desire for an answer in order to end further information processing and judgment, even if that answer is not the correct or best answer. The scale includes 42 items within five sub-scales: Desire for predictability; Preference for order and structure; Discomfort with ambiguity; Decisiveness; and Close-mindedness.

The Trolley Problem
Thomson, J.J. (1985). The trolley problem. The Yale Law Journal, 94 (6), 1395-1415. doi:10.2307/796133. [link]

A trolley is hurtling down a track, and if nobody intervenes it will hit and kill five people. Psychologists use variations on this hypothetical situation to gauge people's gut reactions about morality. Here are three scenarios... Click here >>

Asian Disease Problem
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211(4481), 453-458. [link]

The most famous and robust example of framing effects was illustrated by Tversky and Kahnemans' (1981) Asian disease problem... Click here >>

Other Online Resources



PsycTESTS® is a research database that provides access to psychological tests, measures, scales, surveys, and other assessments as well as descriptive information about the test and its development and administration. A permissions field alerts users to the tests they can use for research or teaching without formal permission. Other options include contacting the author and/or the publisher. The majority of tests in the database can be used without formal permission. [link]



Mindfulness Research Guide

Mindfulness Research Guide is a comprehensive electronic resource and publication database that provides information to researchers, practitioners, and the general public on (1) the scientific study of mindfulness, including: a database of research publications; measurement tools to assess mindfulness; the evidence base for mindfulness interventions; and centers conducting mindfulness research; and (2) the latest advances in mindfulness research and practice through our publication Mindfulness Research Monthly. [link]


Publication Databases

PubMed comprises more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

SAGE Journals
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Springer Link
Springer Link provides researchers with access to millions of scientific documents including journals, books, series, protocols and reference works.

Online News & Discussion Boards

Association for Psychological Science: Observer

Big Questions Online

Big Think

Discover Magazine

Huffington Post

The New York Times

Scientific American


University of Chicago News

Take a Break, and Meditate

Meditation Oasis

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