Judgment | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what judgment is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Judgment?

Judgment involves making rational and logical choices, and analytically evaluating ideas, opinions, and facts. To use a term that originally came from outside the character field: it is critical thinking, weighing the evidence fairly, thinking things through, and examining the evidence from all sides rather than jumping to conclusions. Judgment also involves being open-minded and able to change one’s mind in the light of evidence, remaining open to other arguments and perspectives. It should be clear at this point that judgment is a core “strength of the head” — it’s a very thinking-oriented character strength.

The strength of judgment is a corrective strength in that it counteracts faulty thinking, such as favoring your current views or favoring ideas that are considered the dominant view, and therefore giving less attention to the less-dominant view. It is the willingness to search actively for evidence against your favored beliefs, plans or goals and to weigh all of the evidence fairly when it is available.

Which virtue is this strength?
Judgment is a strength within the virtue category of wisdom, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Wisdom describes strengths that help you gather and use knowledge. The other strengths in Wisdom are creativity , curiosity , judgment , love of learning , and perspective .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of judgment found people who can see things from more than one perspective are particularly skilled in dealing with times of change and transition. Judgment counteracts biased thinking, contributing to more accurate decision-making. Individuals with this strength are less swayed by singular events and are more resistant to suggestion and manipulation.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used judgment in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • How do you express your judgment/critical thinking to others?
  • When you are trying to make decisions, what leads you to lose perspective of the big picture?
  • With what people and in what circumstances is it difficult for you to think rationally without being confused by strong emotions?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of judgment at work in the world.

  • As you gather information about a person, weighing it based on its merits, and analyzing the information rationally so you can keep any tendency of jumping to conclusions in check.
  • Consider a current work project. Expressing judgment by adding another angle or opinion to the project, maybe something new or an option that you may have rejected too quickly at first.
  • Watch a political program that shares a very different or opposite point of view from your own, and try to understand how others could believe that position deeply.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of judgment in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Play devil’s advocate on an issue that you have strong opinions about.
  • Examine a past event that you are not happy with (not following through with a goal) and brainstorm ideas for other ways that you could have approached that event/activity.
  • Choose a strong opinion you have and live briefly (in a positive way) as if you have the opposite opinion. If acting as if you hold that opinion is too challenging, then experiment with this as a mental activity.
Develop All 24 Strengths
Develop All 24 Strengths

The VIA Total 24 Report explores your entire character strengths profile. Purchase this report to boost self-awareness and confidence, cultivate greater happiness, and find greater well-being.