To examine the meaning of wisdom cross-culturally, American, Australian,
Indian, and Japanese samples judged the similarity of seven personality
descriptors: "aged," "awakened," "discreet," "experienced," "intuitive,"
"knowledgeable," and "wise." Multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis revealed
different clustering patterns for the Western (American and Australian)
and the Eastern (Indian and Japanese) samples. For the Westerners, "wise"
was clustered with "experienced" and "knowledgeable," whereas the Easterners
associated "wise" with "discreet." Further, the Western samples selected
"wise" and "knowledgeable" as the favorable descriptors for an ideal self
while mixed results were obtained from the Eastern samples. The results
suggest that the conceptualization of wisdom in the West differs from that
in the East, with the former emphasizing the cognitive dimension and the
latter stressing the cognitive and the affective dimensions.