Boosting Wisdom

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Boosting Wisdom: Distance From the Self Enhances Wise Reasoning, Attitudes, and

Behavior
When it comes to personal situations people often tend to not make the wisest decisions. Researchers in this experiment examine how humans increase their wisdom by simply developing a psychologically distanced perspective. In this experiment researchers investigate how to make people not so self-centered so they can learn to take the bigger picture into account. The researchers proposed that the easiest way for people to reason about personal issues is to enhance their psychological distance.

The subjects selected in the first experiment consisted of seniors and recent graduates of the University of Michigan who were having a hard time obtaining a job. Researchers randomly assigned the subjects to one of two conditions. In the control condition subjects were directed to choose their career outlooks from an immersed perspective. And in the experimental subjects were directed to choose the outlooks of their careers from a distanced perspective. The experiment tests the hypothesis by using wise reasoning. In the second experiment researchers chose the subjects 3 weeks before the presidential election, and the participants had to be either liberal or conservative. Experimenters directed immersed participants, deeply involved in something, to choose a candidate from the perspective of a U.S. citizen who will be living there for the next 4 years. The distanced participants were directed to choose a candidate from the perspective of a citizen of Iceland who will be there for the next 4 years. To test the hypothesis they used wise reasoning, attitude assimilation, and openness to diverse viewpoints.

Researchers found that subjects in the distanced group were more likely to recognize the limits of their knowledge, and also they will also recognize that the future will most likely change. The positive findings show that distancing promotes wisdom in every day life.
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