A Fascinating Sign That You Are Wise

Wise people are humble, recognise that the world is in flux and that people have different views that need to be integrated.

Wise people are humble, recognise that the world is in flux and that people have different views that need to be integrated.

Using the emotions in a balanced way helps people to be wise, research finds.

People who were more wise also reported higher ’emodiversity’, a wider range of emotions.

People reasoned more wisely about their relationships, everyday challenges and even political conflicts when they drew on a wide range of emotions.

The finding contradicts the assumption that the emotions cloud judgement.

When used correctly, the emotions help us reason more effectively.

Wise people are humble, recognise that the world is in flux and that people have different views that need to be integrated.

The conclusions come from a series of studies involving 3,678 people whose reasoning was tested in all sorts of contexts.

The authors write that…

“…a wide range of emotions can contribute to wise reasoning about a given situation, because emodiversity—i.e., the breadth and relative abundance of different emotions—can provide valuable information about the features of the situation and allow for more informed predictions of future actions.”

The study’s authors contrast the characters ‘Spock’ and ‘Yoda’ from the fictional worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars, respectively.

They explain:

“Spock shows little emotional response in the face of adversity, having learned to down-regulate his emotions in line with his people’s historical decision to eschew emotions in favor of logic and rationality.

In contrast, Yoda embraces his emotions and aims to achieve a balance between them.”

The wise should forget about Spock’s emotionless approach, says Dr Igor Grossmann, the study’s first author:

“It seems that wise reasoning does not align with uniform emotional down-regulation, as portrayed by Dr. Spock.

Rather, wise reasoning accompanies one’s ability to recognize and balance a wide range of emotions, as portrayed by Yoda.”

The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (Grossmann et al., 2019).


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Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.