Wisdom, a unique human attribute rich in history dating back to the dawn of civilization, is a newcomer to the world of empirical research. For centuries, wisdom was the sole province of religion and philosophy. A standard philosophical definition of wisdom pertains to judicious application of knowledge, and most religions have considered it a virtue. Wisdom is thought to be a complex construct, with several subcomponents. While the relative emphasis on specific subcomponents has varied across cultures and periods, there have been more similarities than differences among different postulated concepts of wisdom. While classic Greek writings on wisdom focused on rationality, early Indian and Chinese thinkers stressed emotional balance. Yet, these conceptualizations of wisdom shared several common features, such as thoughtful decision making, compassion, altruism, and insight. Excellent accounts of the history of the concept of wisdom are available.