Sapience is defined as wisdom, or the ability of an organism or entity to act with appropriate judgement, a mental faculty which is a component of intelligence or alternatively may be considered an additional faculty, apart from intelligence, with its own properties. Robert Sternberg has segregated the capacity for judgement from the general qualifiers for intelligence, which is closer to cognizant aptitude than to wisdom. Displaying sound judgement in a complex, dynamic environment is a hallmark of wisdom. 
In science fiction, sapience often describes an essential property that bestows "personhood" onto a non-human. It indicates that a computer, alien, mythical creature or other similar individual merits treatment as a being with capabilities and desires equal to any human character. These sapient, non-human characters are often entitled to, or eligible to receive, full civil rights. The words "sentience", "self-awareness", and "consciousness" are used in similar ways in science fiction.