An article by Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic touches on the neuroscience of wisdom. He cites work by UCSD clinical psychologist Lisa Eyler and psychiatrist and Dilip V. Jeste (e.g. Meeks & Heste, 2009 Arch Gen Psychiatry,  and Bangen et al., 2013 Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 2013) using fMRI and behavioural tests, and a parallel investigation by Brassen et al. (2012 Science) at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The author points out that “Wisdom is an inherently multifarious trait, an emergent property of many other functions”. Studies show that at least some aspects of wisdom, including social reasoning, long-term decision-making, and comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity, do increase with age (while sensitivity to rewards decrease). Jeste et al. have also found “that older people compensate for deterioration in specific regions of the brain by recruiting additional neural networks in other regions” (see Eyler et al., 2011 Biol Psychiatry; Bangen et al., 2012 J Int Neuropsych Soc).

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This post was written by Syngli