Wisdom in the military context

Hannes Zacher, Bernard McKenna*, David Rooney, Steven Gold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


On the basis of the Berlin wisdom paradigm, we define wisdom in the military context as expert knowledge and judgment concerning in extremis military operations. We measured wisdom in the military context by asking participants to give advice to an inexperienced officer facing an in extremis operation; subsequently, we coded their responses. Data were provided by 74 senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) in the U.S. defense forces. In support of convergent validity, wisdom in the military context was positively related to general objective wisdom and general self-assessed wisdom. Relationships of wisdom in the military context and general objective wisdom with Big Five personality characteristics were nonsignificant, whereas general selfassessed wisdom was positively related to extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, and it was negatively related to neuroticism. The findings provide initial support for the validity of the new wisdom in the military context measure. We discuss several implications for future research and practice regarding wisdom in the military context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
JournalMilitary Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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