Current Projects

Self-Motivation to Virtue Project

  • The goal of this research study is to deepen our understanding of what factors motivate people to be virtuous.  Virtue is a complex yet vitally important resource to cultivate in people. This project uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the motivational underpinnings of virtuous behaviour. Two convergent mixed methods studies address the following question: Does nation, faith, or wisdom matter more in the development of the virtuous self?

  • In Study 1 (2016-2018), In-depth interviews were conducted with participants of 4 faith conditions (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Agnostic) in 2 nations (Canada and South-Korea) at 2 stages of adulthood (emerging adult and older adult). In the interviews, participants discussed morality and virtue within the context of their own lives and the lives of personally-known moral exemplars.

  • In Study 2 (2018-present), data from moral nominees of the same nations and faith conditions will be compared to that of the general population assessed in Study 1.

Research Team

Michel Ferrari, Monika Ardelt, Melanie Munroe, Fatemeh Alhosseini, Suwimon Phaetthayanan, Samara Obaidi, Hyeyoung Bang, Nic Weststrate, John Vervaeke 

Wisdom and Life Management in Muslim Immigrants and Refugees


The purpose of this project is to (1) to characterize the situated nature of wisdom (e.g., wise coping) within displaced communities—specifically, the characterization and appropriation of a specific wisdom tradition (Islam) at the intersections of culture, gender and life stage as it relates to life management; (2) to study the role of wisdom in effective coping with challenges to successful life management, and generally to quality of

life; and (3) to provide information for new refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries to help improve their coping skills and quality of life in Canada.


Phase 1 involves a general 2-hour survey of acculturation of recent Iranian immigrants (n=200) and Syrian refugee (n=200) (<5 in Canada) residing in the GTA, using standardized instruments to assess wisdom, coping style, acculturation and general quality of life. Half of the participants from each group will be emerging adults (age 20-25) and half will be middle aged adults (age 30-45).

Phase 2 involves interviewing 40 participants from each immigrant cultural group (Iranian and Syrian) with the highest wisdom scores based on the results of Phase 1, divided equally by age and gender. As well as a semi-structured 1-month audio diary and follow-up interview.

Research Team

Michel Ferrari, Monika Ardelt, Saba Safdar, Fatemeh Alhosseini, Sadaf Pouriliyaei, Asma Shamim



This study has began at the end of 2018, and will continue through 2022.

Scope and Frames

of the Science of wisdom


How do we study wisdom?  The scientific study of wisdom has seen significant growth in the past 30 years.  The present comprehensive review aims to explore empirical studies of wisdom - any related study with scientific evidence and interpretation.   New labs, research paradigms, measurement tools, strategies, and tangential inquiries are explored. 


The present  systematic review (2018-present) is primarily focused on how wisdom is conceptualized, measured, and connected to other psychological constructs.

Research Team

Michel Ferrari, Nicole A. Sardella, Juensung Kim, Arjun Hari, Caroline Jee, Michel Alexandrovsky, Rebecca Antonacci, Rose Talebi, Scott Walker, Shreyashi Saha, Sydney Caskenette