Life span theorist (with an emphasis on cognitive plasticity in old age) Paul Baltes of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, wrote much about what has been termed the "Berlin Wisdom Paradigm". This holds that as we age - even into our 80's and beyond - we (may) become wise, although this depends on a series of factors
Indeed, together with his partner Margaret Balten, Paul Baltes wrote in "Harvesting the Fruits of Age: Growing Older, Growing Wise":
"The good news of old age even includes some aspects of psychological functioning where there is hope for age-associated advance in functioning. Two examples are emotional intelligence and wisdom. In emotional intelligence, that is, the ability to understand the causes of emotions (such as hate, love, or anxiety) and the ways to control and use them effectively for problem solving, we seem to improve with age. This improvement is particularly noticeable when difficult interpersonal problems of life are involved."
"The second example of an instance of positive aging and a new frontier of mastery is wisdom. Historically, wisdom is the peak of human excellence, the perfect integration of knowledge and character. In extensive research being conducted at the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development, wisdom is defined as "expert knowledge about life in general and good judgement and advice about how to conduct oneself in the face of complex, uncertain circumstances." New York Times
"Our research results have supported the notion that wisdom is a domain where older adults can excel. Older adults in particular seem to have acquired the dispositions and skills to benefit from such social exchanges with others to solve the dilemmas of life. Here may lie the foundation for the many success stories of grandfathers, grandmothers, and older mentors who are able to express warmth, understanding, and guidance."
"For us, such findings on the age-friendliness of wisdom-related knowledge and skills are cause for optimism. Only during the last century have so many people reached old age. With more and more people living longer, and thus — at least potentially — growing wiser and wiser, who is to say what the aging mind may contribute to the future?"
To this end, and to further understand these concepts in more manageable, laymen-like terms, I offer two articles from the New York Times