Virtuous Qualities and Personality Traits of Wise Individuals

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Chandigarh, India

2 Department of Psychology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India



Introduction: Wisdom is a desired master virtue and a lot can be learnt from the qualities and personality traits of wise individuals. Philosophers and psychologists have attempted to understand the qualities that make an individual wise because wisdom entails a life of personal growth and maturity. Keeping the benefits of wisdom in mind, the present study investigated various virtues and personality traits that characterize it.
Method: Wisdom was studied in relationship with Big Five Personality Traits (extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness) and Virtues (wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, transcendence) among a sample of 360 Indian adults in the age range of 18-75 years. Pearson’s product moment correlation and stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted with wisdom as the criterion variable. Cross-sectional predictors of wisdom were also found across the three age groups i.e. young adults, middle aged adults, and older adults.
Results: Results revealed that humanity, transcendence, extraversion and wisdom and knowledge virtues account for 29% variance in wisdom in the total sample. The virtues of wisdom and knowledge and openness personality trait emerged to be the most significant predictors of wisdom in young adults (n=120) and accounted for 17% variance. Middle-aged adults (n=120) reflected transcendence, temperance and humanity virtues as significant predictors of wisdom accounting for 41% variance. The older adult group displayed transcendence as the only significant predictor of wisdom accounting for 5% variance.
Conclusion: The present study indicates that in order to develop wisdom, one needs to inculcate healthier personality traits of openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, humility, forgiveness, ego transcendence, gratitude, hope, playfulness, humor, kindness, curiosity, judgment and perspective-taking abilities. 


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