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Michel Ferrari

Michel Ferrari

phone: (416) 978-1070

Applied Psychology and Human Development

Centre for Applied Cognitive Science
Institute for Knowledge, Innovation and Technology

Research Overview

Dr. Michel Ferrari is professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development in the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). As Director of the Wisdom and Identity Lab, he explores the personal meaning of wisdom in people at different ages (from children to the elderly) from different nations. For example, he led an international study of personal wisdom in Canada, the USA, Ukraine, Iran, India, and China. Another international study explored the relationship between wisdom and motivation to virtue in younger and older adults of 4 different faith traditions (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Atheist) in Canada and South-Korea. Currently, he is leading a study of the relationship between wisdom and successful acculturation in Islamic immigrants and refugees to Canada from Iran and Syria.

Along with his students and colleagues, he has edited 13 books, the most recent being Melanie Munroe & Michel Ferrari (Eds), Post-Traumatic Growth to Psychological Well-Being: Coping Wisely with Adversity (in press, Springer).

In applied practice, he and his students have studied the experience of wisdom and personal identity in marginalized populations, in particular, people diagnosed with autism.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Dr. Michel Ferrari received his BA from the Liberal Arts College of Concordia University and his MA and PhD from the Universit du Qubec Montral (UQAM). He was a Postdoctoral Associate with Robert Sternberg at Yale University and a Research Associate with Michelene Chi and Kurt VanLehn at the Learning research and Development Center (LRDC) of the University of Pittsburgh.

Teaching Overview

Dr. Ferrari teaches developmental and educational psychology within the Masters of Education Program. He also teaches the history of psychology. In addition, he is cross-appointed to New College, where he teaches a class on Wisdom Traditions: East and West.

Representative Publications


Journal Articles

Zhang, K. Shi, J, Wang,. F. & Ferrari, M. (2022). Wisdom: Meaning, structure, types, arguments, and future concerns. Current Psychology (advance publication).

* Kim, J. J., Munroe, M., Feng, Z., Morris, S., Al-Refae, M., Antonacci, R., & Ferrari, M. (2021). Personal growth and well-being in the time of COVID: An exploratory mixed-methods analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648060.

*Al-Refae, M., Al-Refae, A., *Munroe, M., *Sardella, N.A, & Ferrari, M. (2021). A Self-Compassion and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Mobile Intervention (Serene) for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: Promoting Adaptive Emotional Regulation and Wisdom. Frontiers in Psychology, section Health Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087.

Grossmann, I., *^Weststrate, N.M., ^Ardelt, M., Brienza, J.P. Dong, V.M., Ferrari, M., Fournier, M.A. Hu, C.S., Nusbaum, H.C. & Vervaeke, J. (2020). Wisdom Science in a Polarized World: Knowns and Unknowns. Psychological Inquiry, 31, 103-133.

*Weststrate, N., Ferrari, M. & ^Ardelt, M. (2016). The Many Faces of Wisdom: An Investigation of Cultural-Historical Wisdom Exemplars Reveals Practical, Philosophical, and Benevolent Prototypes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 662-676. doi: 10.1177/0146167216638075

Ferrari, M. (2011). Introduction to a special issue on the Liber de Sapiente [Book of the Wise]Intellectual History Review, 21(3), 257-265.

        Ferrari, M. (2011) What Can Neuroscience Bring to Education? Educational Philosophy and Theory 43 (1), 31-36.

Edited Books

*Munroe, M. & Ferrari, M. (Eds.) (in press). Post-Traumatic Growth to Psychological Well-Being: Coping Wisely with Adversity. Amsterdam, NL: Springer.


*Fernando, C., *Alhosseini, F. Xi, Chen & Ferrari, M. (Eds.) (in press). Handbook of Resilience in Displaced People. New York, NY: Springer.

*DeMichelis, C. & Ferrari, M. (Eds.) (2016).  Child and Adolescent Resilience within Medical Contexts.  New York, NY: Springer.

*Yasnitsky, A., ^Van der Veer, R. & Ferrari, M. (Eds.) (2014) Cambridge Handbook of Cultural Historical Psychology.  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Ferrari, M. & *Weststrate, N.M. (2013). The Scientific Study of Personal Wisdom: From Contemplative Traditions to Neuroscience. Amsterdam, NL: Springer.

*Fernando, C. & Ferrari, M. (2013).  Promoting resilience in children of war. New York, NY: Springer.

Ferrari, M. & *Vuletic, L. (Eds.) (2010),  The Developmental Interplay between Mind, Brain, and Education: Essays in honor of Robbie Case. Amsterdam, NL: Springer. 

Ferrari, M. & *Potworowski, G. (Ed.) (2008). Teaching for Wisdom. Amsterdam, NL: Springer.

Research Grants and Contracts

Templeton Religious Trust, 2015-2017; $247,000
Motivating the self to virtue in Canada and South Korea: Does age, wisdom, nation or faith matter more in developing a virtuous self?
(Principal Investigator; M. Ardelt, R. Edmondson, M. Connell, G. Mongeau & J. Vervaeke, collaborators)

SSHRC (Insight Grant), 2018-2022; $197,055
Wise life management among Iranian immigrants and Syrian refugees.
(Principal Investigator; Co-investigators: C. Chen, S. Safdar; Collaborator: M. Ardelt)

China Natural Science Foundation (~ongoing), 2018-2022; $50,000
A Novel Paradigm of Wisdom Measurement: Research on the Second-Person Perspective, Wisdom Advising.
(Collaborator; Principal Investigator: Chao Hu)

Professional Activities

Dr. Ferrari co-coordinates the Masters of Education program with Dr. Anne-Claude Bedard.