Wisdom, Ageing, and the Pandemics

CHeBA Visiting Lecture Series presents Professor Dilip Jeste of the University of California San Diego, for his talk:

Wisdom, Ageing, and the Pandemics

The presentation will be followed by a live Q&A session with Professor Jeste

Discussed in religions and philosophies for millennia, wisdom is a topic of growing empirical research since the 1970s. Wisdom is a complex personality trait with several specific components: empathy/compassion, emotional regulation, self-reflection, decisiveness amid uncertainty, and spirituality. Functional neuroimaging, neurochemical, neuropathological, and genetic studies point to a neurobiological basis for wisdom. Unlike IQ, components of wisdom are potentially modifiable and may increase with age and experience. Studies support a Grandmother Hypothesis of wisdom. Several randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions have shown increases in emotional regulation, empathy/compassion, and spirituality with psychosocial interventions. In near future, neurobiological procedures such as targeted brain stimulation as well as neuro-psycho-tropic drugs may be developed to enhance components of wisdom. Technological innovations are also likely to shift artificial intelligence to artificial wisdom. Our studies have shown a strong inverse association between wisdom and loneliness. This suggests relevance of wisdom in the current era of behavioral pandemics of loneliness and associated suicides and opioid-related deaths. Enhancement of components of wisdom at individual and societal levels may help reduce loneliness-related mortality. Wisdom, through its association with well-being, happiness, and health is perhaps the best means of achieving successful ageing.


Dilip V. Jeste, M.D. is the Senior Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care, Estelle and Edgar Levi Memorial Chair in Aging, Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at University of California San Diego, and Co-Director of the UC San Diego-IBM Center on Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living.

He has published 14 books, including his most recent book titled “Wiser” which came out on November 3rd of 2020. He has published over 725 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 160+ invited book chapters. He is Past President of the American Psychiatric Association, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the West Coast College of Biological Psychiatry, and Founding President of International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology. Dr. Jeste is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and was a member of the NIMH Advisory Council and NIH Council of Councils.

For more upcoming Visiting Lecture Series events as well as past presentations, CLICK HERE.

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