Aging and Wisdom: Culture Matters

Igor Grossmann, Mayumi Karasawa, Satoko Izumi, Jinkyung Na, Michael Varnum, Shinobu Kitayama, Richard E. Nisbett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People from different cultures vary in the ways they approach social conflicts, with Japanese being more motivated to maintain interpersonal harmony and avoid conflicts than Americans are. Such cultural differences have developmental consequences for reasoning about social conflict. In the study reported here, we interviewed random samples of Americans from the Midwest United States and Japanese from the larger Tokyo area about their reactions to stories of intergroup and interpersonal conflicts. Responses showed that wisdom (e.g., recognition of multiple perspectives, the limits of personal knowledge, and the importance of compromise) increased with increasing age among Americans, but older age was not associated with wiser responses among Japanese. Younger and middle-aged Japanese showed greater use of wise-reasoning strategies than younger and middle-aged Americans did. This cultural difference was weaker for older participants' reactions to interpersonal conflicts and was actually reversed for intergroup conflicts. This research has important implications for the study of aging, cultural psychology, and wisdom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1066
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume23
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Tokyo
Conflict (Psychology)
Wisdom
Psychology
Research
Cultural Differences
Social Conflict
Harmony
Cultural Psychology
Compromise
Personal Knowledge

Keywords

  • adult development
  • aging
  • cognitive ability
  • cognitive development
  • conflict resolution
  • cross-cultural differences
  • culture
  • reasoning
  • wisdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Grossmann, I., Karasawa, M., Izumi, S., Na, J., Varnum, M., Kitayama, S., & Nisbett, R. E. (2012). Aging and Wisdom: Culture Matters. Psychological Science, 23(10), 1059-1066. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612446025

Aging and Wisdom : Culture Matters. / Grossmann, Igor; Karasawa, Mayumi; Izumi, Satoko; Na, Jinkyung; Varnum, Michael; Kitayama, Shinobu; Nisbett, Richard E.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 23, No. 10, 10.2012, p. 1059-1066.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Grossmann, I, Karasawa, M, Izumi, S, Na, J, Varnum, M, Kitayama, S & Nisbett, RE 2012, 'Aging and Wisdom: Culture Matters', Psychological Science, vol. 23, no. 10, pp. 1059-1066. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612446025
Grossmann I, Karasawa M, Izumi S, Na J, Varnum M, Kitayama S et al. Aging and Wisdom: Culture Matters. Psychological Science. 2012 Oct;23(10):1059-1066. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612446025
Grossmann, Igor ; Karasawa, Mayumi ; Izumi, Satoko ; Na, Jinkyung ; Varnum, Michael ; Kitayama, Shinobu ; Nisbett, Richard E. / Aging and Wisdom : Culture Matters. In: Psychological Science. 2012 ; Vol. 23, No. 10. pp. 1059-1066.
@article{a874358bae634d7ebf5655536ef738a1,
title = "Aging and Wisdom: Culture Matters",
abstract = "People from different cultures vary in the ways they approach social conflicts, with Japanese being more motivated to maintain interpersonal harmony and avoid conflicts than Americans are. Such cultural differences have developmental consequences for reasoning about social conflict. In the study reported here, we interviewed random samples of Americans from the Midwest United States and Japanese from the larger Tokyo area about their reactions to stories of intergroup and interpersonal conflicts. Responses showed that wisdom (e.g., recognition of multiple perspectives, the limits of personal knowledge, and the importance of compromise) increased with increasing age among Americans, but older age was not associated with wiser responses among Japanese. Younger and middle-aged Japanese showed greater use of wise-reasoning strategies than younger and middle-aged Americans did. This cultural difference was weaker for older participants' reactions to interpersonal conflicts and was actually reversed for intergroup conflicts. This research has important implications for the study of aging, cultural psychology, and wisdom.",
keywords = "adult development, aging, cognitive ability, cognitive development, conflict resolution, cross-cultural differences, culture, reasoning, wisdom",
author = "Igor Grossmann and Mayumi Karasawa and Satoko Izumi and Jinkyung Na and Michael Varnum and Shinobu Kitayama and Nisbett, {Richard E.}",
year = "2012",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1177/0956797612446025",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "1059--1066",
journal = "Psychological Science",
issn = "0956-7976",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "10",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Aging and Wisdom

T2 - Culture Matters

AU - Grossmann, Igor

AU - Karasawa, Mayumi

AU - Izumi, Satoko

AU - Na, Jinkyung

AU - Varnum, Michael

AU - Kitayama, Shinobu

AU - Nisbett, Richard E.

PY - 2012/10

Y1 - 2012/10

N2 - People from different cultures vary in the ways they approach social conflicts, with Japanese being more motivated to maintain interpersonal harmony and avoid conflicts than Americans are. Such cultural differences have developmental consequences for reasoning about social conflict. In the study reported here, we interviewed random samples of Americans from the Midwest United States and Japanese from the larger Tokyo area about their reactions to stories of intergroup and interpersonal conflicts. Responses showed that wisdom (e.g., recognition of multiple perspectives, the limits of personal knowledge, and the importance of compromise) increased with increasing age among Americans, but older age was not associated with wiser responses among Japanese. Younger and middle-aged Japanese showed greater use of wise-reasoning strategies than younger and middle-aged Americans did. This cultural difference was weaker for older participants' reactions to interpersonal conflicts and was actually reversed for intergroup conflicts. This research has important implications for the study of aging, cultural psychology, and wisdom.

AB - People from different cultures vary in the ways they approach social conflicts, with Japanese being more motivated to maintain interpersonal harmony and avoid conflicts than Americans are. Such cultural differences have developmental consequences for reasoning about social conflict. In the study reported here, we interviewed random samples of Americans from the Midwest United States and Japanese from the larger Tokyo area about their reactions to stories of intergroup and interpersonal conflicts. Responses showed that wisdom (e.g., recognition of multiple perspectives, the limits of personal knowledge, and the importance of compromise) increased with increasing age among Americans, but older age was not associated with wiser responses among Japanese. Younger and middle-aged Japanese showed greater use of wise-reasoning strategies than younger and middle-aged Americans did. This cultural difference was weaker for older participants' reactions to interpersonal conflicts and was actually reversed for intergroup conflicts. This research has important implications for the study of aging, cultural psychology, and wisdom.

KW - adult development

KW - aging

KW - cognitive ability

KW - cognitive development

KW - conflict resolution

KW - cross-cultural differences

KW - culture

KW - reasoning

KW - wisdom

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84867655346&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84867655346&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0956797612446025

DO - 10.1177/0956797612446025

M3 - Article

C2 - 22933459

AN - SCOPUS:84867655346

VL - 23

SP - 1059

EP - 1066

JO - Psychological Science

JF - Psychological Science

SN - 0956-7976

IS - 10

ER -