Developmental theorist Eric Erickson found that psychological growth and development can occur throughout the life span. He identified eight life stages, each with a specific psychosocial problem that, if successfully resolved, brings about growth and the potential to master the next stage. The eighth and final life stage he called “maturity.” At this juncture, a person comes to realize that his or her life cannot be relived. Successful negotiation brings about ego integrity—a sense of peace with life as it was lived. If integrity does not develop, the person experiences despair, and regret about one’s life dominates. There is fear that death will come before a meaningful life can be experienced. Alternatively, a sense of integrity fosters wisdom. Erickson viewed the wise elder as contributing to society and future generations through interactions with younger people.
Compared to studies of intelligence, little research has been conducted on wisdom. Difficulty in defining … Read More