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经济学人:年龄与智慧 姜是老的辣?

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Science and technology.

科技。
Age and wisdom.
年龄与智慧。
Older and wiser?
姜是老的辣?
Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start.
美国人年龄越大越聪明。日本人从小就聪明。
ONE stereotype of wisdom is a wizened Zen-master smiling benevolently at the antics of his pupils, while referring to them as little grasshoppers or some such affectation, safe in the knowledge that one day they, too, will have been set on the path that leads to wizened masterhood. But is it true that age brings wisdom? A study two years ago in North America, by Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo, in Canada, suggested that it is. In as much as it is possible to quantify wisdom, Dr Grossmann found that elderly Americans had more of it than youngsters. He has, however, now extended his investigation to Asia-the land of the wizened Zen-master-and, in particular, to Japan. There, he found, in contrast to the West, that the grasshoppers are their masters' equals almost from the beginning.
提到智慧的时候,人们脑海里总会出现这样一个老套的画面:一个削瘦的禅宗大师面容慈祥的对他的弟子微笑着,一边叫他们"小不点",心中十分确定他们迟早会走上这条通往智慧的禅宗之道。但是智慧真的与年龄有关吗?两年前,加拿大滑铁卢大学Igor Grossmann博士的研究显示情况的确如此。由于智慧可以标准量化,他发现年长的美国人的确比年轻人要聪明。但是,如今他将调查扩展至整个亚洲——这个拥有禅宗大师的神奇土地——特别是日本。在那里他发现,与西方相比,几乎从一开始,这些弟子与大师在智力方面难分伯仲 。
Dr Grossmann's study, just published in Psychological Science, recruited 186 Japanese from various walks of life and compared them with 225 Americans. Participants were asked to read a series of pretend newspaper articles. Half described conflict between groups, such as a debate between residents of an impoverished Pacific island over whether to allow foreign oil companies to operate there following the discovery of petroleum. (Those in favour viewed it as an opportunity to get rich; those against feared the disruption of ancient ways and potential ecological damage.) The other half took the form of advice columns that dealt with conflicts between individuals: siblings, friends and spouses. After reading each article, participants were asked "What do you think will happen after that?" and "Why do you think it will happen this way?" Their responses were recorded and transcribed.
Grossmann博士研究结果刚发表在《心理科学》。他招募了186个来自各行各业的日本人并且与225个美国人做对比研究。他要求参与者阅读一些假装在报纸上发表的文章。其中一半描述了一些团体斗争,比如太平洋小岛上当地居民关于是否允许外国石油公司开发刚发现的石油资源。(赞成开采的人认为这是一个发展当经济的机会而反对开采的人则害怕破坏了古老的生活方式并且会对生态环境带来潜在威胁)。另一半文章以专栏的方式提供兄弟姐妹、朋友、配偶之间的个人斗争解决建议。在阅读完文章之后,研究人员会问参与者两个问题,分别是"此事发生后,你认为事态将会如何发展??"和"为什么你认为事态会这样发展?"然后研究人员会记录他们的答案。
Dr Grossmann and his colleagues removed age-related information from the transcripts, and also any clues to participants' nationalities, and then passed the edited versions to a group of assessors. These assessors were trained to rate transcribed responses consistently, and had been tested to show that their ratings were statistically comparable with one another.
Grossmann博士和同事们会在记录中剔除与他们年龄和国籍相关的信息,然后将处理过的记录版本交给经过培训的一组评委,他们都对答案的有一致的评分标准。这些评估成员经过训练,能够始终以相同标准对纸上答案进行评分;并且已通过测试表明其评出的分数在统计方面相互具有可比性。
The assessors scored participants' responses on a scale of one to three. This attempted to capture the degree to which they discussed what psychologists consider five crucial aspects of wise reasoning: willingness to seek opportunities to resolve conflict; willingness to search for compromise; recognition of the limits of personal knowledge; awareness that more than one perspective on a problem can exist; and appreciation of the fact that things may get worse before they get better.
评委将参与者的答案按1至3分进行评分。他们想通过这种方法把握心理学家认为的五个有关于智慧方面的重要程度,分别是:寻求解决争端机会的意愿;寻求折中方法的意愿;对个人知识有限的认识度;对问题存在多个方面的意识程度;和对事情在往好的方向发展前的趋坏倾向的估计程度。
A score of one on any aspect indicated a participant gave no consideration to it. A score of two indicated some consideration. A score of three indicated a great deal of consideration. Each participant's scores were then added up and mathematically transformed to create an overall value within a range of zero to 100 for both interpersonal and intergroup wisdom.
1分代表参与者根本就没有考虑过,2分代表参与者有了些思考但并不深入,3分代表参与者对这些问题有深入的思考。将参与者的每个问题的得分相加,再把总分从人际关系及团体关系两方面分别转换为百分制。
The upshot was that, as Dr Grossmann had found before, Americans do get wiser with age. Their intergroup wisdom score averaged 45 at the age of 25 and 55 at 75. Their interpersonal score similarly climbed from 46 to 50. Japanese scores, by contrast, hardly varied with age. Both 25-year-olds and 75-year-olds had an average intergroup wisdom of 51. For interpersonal wisdom, it was 53 and 52.
与Grossmann博士以前的结果一样,美国人随着年龄的增长智慧增加。25岁的美国人社会群体的判断力平均数是45而75岁的美国人平均数是55.他们人际关系的判断力平均数同样随年龄由46攀升至50。但是与美国人的结果相反,日本人的分数与年龄并无太大关系。25岁和75岁的人的社会群体的判断力平均数都是51;对于人际关系判断力反而是25岁的是53,75岁的人是52.
Taken at face value, these results suggest Japanese learn wisdom faster than Americans. One up, then, to the wizened Zen-masters. But they also suggest a paradox. Generally, America is seen as an individualistic society, whereas Japan is quite collectivist. Yet Japanese have higher scores than Americans for the sort of interpersonal wisdom you might think would be useful in an individualistic society. Americans, by contrast-at least in the maturity of old age—have more intergroup wisdom than the purportedly collectivist Japanese. Perhaps, then, you need individual skills when society is collective, and social ones when it is individualistic. All of which goes to show that the real root of wisdom is this: do not assume, little grasshopper, that your prejudices are correct.
这些结果显示日本人比美国人更早变聪明一些。年轻人以一分的优势险胜那些削瘦的禅宗大师们。但是却有一个悖论:通常说来美国被视为是一个充满了个人主义的社会,然而日本则更推崇集体主义。但是日本人在人际关系能力这一项上的得分却比美国人要高,而人际关系判断力是大多数人认为在个人主义社会中十分受用的能力。相反,美国人——至少在年龄比较高的那一组中——在群体判断力的得分上比据称崇尚集体主义的日本人要高。也许,当社会推崇集体主义的时候你也需要人际关系技巧,在推崇个人主义的社会里你同样需要社交技巧。所有的这一切都表明,智慧的真正根源是:别事先假定你的成见是正确的,也别轻看了那些"小不点"。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

 
overall [əuvə'rɔ:l]

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adj. 全部的,全体的,一切在内的
adv.

 
maturity [mə'tjuəriti]

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n. 成熟,(支票等的)到期

 
resolve [ri'zɔlv]

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n. 决定之事,决心,坚决
vt. 决定,解决

联想记忆
pacific [pə'sifik]

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n. 太平洋
adj. 太平洋的
p

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debate [di'beit]

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n. 辩论,讨论
vt. 争论,思考

联想记忆
participant [pɑ:'tisipənt]

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n. 参与者

联想记忆
varied ['vɛərid]

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adj. 各种各样的 动词vary的过去式和过去分词

 
ecological [.ekə'lɔdʒikəl]

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adj. 生态的,生态学的

 
willingness ['wiliŋnis]

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n. 乐意,愿意

 


关键字: 智慧 年龄

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