Doctors, waiters, housewives, teachers,
plumbers and stockbrokers all use intuitive judgment. Everyone does.
Minor decisions or major decisions are often made based on feeling,
even when the reason for the feeling is unclear.
Intuition is knowing without knowing why we know. It is knowledge we
aren't born with, nor do we reach it with analytic argument. If we all
have intuition, then we need to find ways to educate our intuitions.
Psychology has begun to develop tools to do just that.
The conclusion that intuition can be educated is based on five main
ideas. The first is that each of is a single organism but we each have
many processing systems. The information processing systems communicate
with each other to ensure the survival of the organism.
They are involved in the internal regulation of bodily functions and
the external adaptation of the environment. Much of the processing is
carried out in automatic ways without the organism's conscious control.
The second idea is that these systems of processing information have
evolved over time in layers that represent a line of adaptation to environmental
The third idea is that many processing systems are automatic.
Working memory or short term memory contains only those pieces of information
of which we are currently aware. The contents of the working memory
defines conscious experience. Conscious awareness is therefore the same
thing as attention.
Working with this information is costly in that working memory has limited
capacity so by paying attention to one thing we don't pay attention
to another. Using short-term memory requires effort, energy, work.
Intuition or automatic information processing occurs outside working
memory and attention. Through practice some processes can become automatic
However not all automatic processes are intuitive. Blinking an eye is
more instinct than intuition.
The fourth idea is that learning is shaped by experience. People learn
by making connections and the more the same connections are seen the
more likely they are to be learned.
Rewards and punishments help reinforcing learning connections. Whether
people learn the right or a wrong lesson depends on the environment
where the learning occurs.
The fifth idea is that there are two systems for learning and doing.:
The tacit system and the deliberate system. Tacit system is composed
of all processes that occur automatically and includes intuition.
The deliberate system includes all processes that require attention
and deliberation, like analysis, logic, and synthesis. The two systems
can work together to produce leaning or action.
No book can provide the content of intuitive knowledge because this
is influenced by each person's specific experiences.
While we cannot educate intuition for content, we can educate it for
process. The key is to help make the scientific method intuitive.
Each individual must become aware of when his intuition is or is not
accurate. He must also learn how to incorporate the principals of the
scientific method into his habits.
Traditionally psychology teaches that people use two different modes
of thought, intuitive and analytical. Jerome Bruner examines the effectiveness
of narrative versus argument in changing peoples' ideas. He found that
lifelike, narrative explanations were more persuasive than logical argument.
He explains the narratives power by saying that it appeals to the audiences'
implicit knowledge. The narrator relies on touching the audience's experiences
and knowledge to make connections. This knowledge that the audience
already possess may be cultural or intuitive.
Analogies are a persuasive form of argument because they take the form
of a narrative. The effectiveness depends on the persuader's ability
to connect to the audience's life experiences. This idea is carried
a step further in script theory which states that people have an intuitive
understanding of the direction which certain social situations will
Scripts guide individual through eating in a restaurant, getting up
in the morning, . These behaviors are automatic unless they are interrupted.
When interruption occurs a person may invent an explicit rule to overcome
his inability to cope automatically or intuitively.
Seymour Epstein makes a distinction between experiential and rational
processing of information. The experiential is moved by emotions, intuition
and is usually automatic. He suggests that this is the older form in
the evolution of man's information processing and that it operates in
It works primarily through concrete images. It abstracts and makes generalizations
through creating prototypes, metaphors, scripts and narratives. Rational
processing on the other hand, is deliberative, effortful, that uses
language as its basis of operation.
Therefore it is newer in the evolution of man's information processing.
Epstein was influenced greatly by Daniel Kahneman's theory of heuristics
or natural reasoning strategies in probabilistic thinking. These structures
are easy to execute and the answers they derive are often good enough,
but will produce errors in a more formal proof.
People do recognize when they are reasoning with each of these systems
and that they may get different answers depending on the system they
choose to use. Most of the time reasoning will begin with the experiential
forms and be refined by the rational forms. Epstein also agrees with
Freud that the subconscious is important, but Freud developed an inaccurate
picture of what the subconscious does.
Kenneth Hammond points out that people do always know what influences
judgment, He attempts to use statistics that measure how people weigh
different informational clues he hoped to understand how they make judgments.
Hammond believes that intuitive judgments are the result of thinking
about many imperfect bits of information.
He contrasts this with analysis, which uses a few stated rules. He sees
intuitive judgment as similar to averages that may have many errors
that are close to the true value. In contrast analysis has fewer errors
but they are further from the true value. He also says that cognition
is not an either or proposition.
Instead it is on a continuum fro m pure intuition to pure analysis and
that people may range any where on the continuum. He suggests that different
tasks elicit different responses on this continuum.
To educate intuition on the basis of the two processes theory, we must
understand the nature of the tacit system, how our intuitions are acquired
and how effective our present use of intuition is.
The more modern cognitive or information processing approach says less
about intuition because it examines conscious learning. Some of the
models do propose ways of dealing with subconscious processes. The first
half of the twentieth century psychiatry was dominated by mechanistic
stimulus response theory.
Gestalt theory was the exception. The 1950's saw the first step in the
development of cognitive revolution. It began by saying that cognition;
the act of thinking- was a legitimate area to study. The invention of
the computer aided psychiatrist in formulation of the idea of information
One of the earliest discoveries was that humans did not have access
to their mental processes in a way that would allow the building of
models. Investigators always had to add something. They began to consider
the subconscious as the place where the hidden processes existed.
Certainly they recognized that perception, physical movement and regulation
of heart, breathing and other internal processes demand no attention.
In the 1970's experiments illustrated that familiar stimuli people develop
routines that worked almost automatically and that those routines were
difficult to modify, or ignore.
They found that spatial and temporal memory are very nearly automatic.
They went on to define declarative knowledge as what people know and
procedural knowledge as the set of rules, strategies that operate on
Consciousness is declarative knowledge present in working memory; procedural
knowledge operates at the subconscious level. So intuition would be
the procedural knowledge.
Paul Smolensky distinguishes between symbolic and subsymbolic systems.
Symbolic systems have conscious rules of application that manipulate
symbols. Intuitive processor on the other hand controls subsymbolic
systems. Conclusions do not need to involve the application of rules.
The intuitive processor is responsible for all of the animal behavior
and most of human behavior. As people acquire more practice in an activity
over time, responsibility for that activity passes from the conscious
to the intuitive processor. Most of people's mental behavior contains
elements of both symbolic and subsymbolic information processing.
Cognitive psychology today is searching for specific tacit rules that
explain subsymbolic thinking. They are examining categorization, comparison,
psycholinguistic and models of judgment and decision-making. Investigators
assume that people lack awareness of how their behaviors work. The goal
is to make the processes explicit to the investigator
So far the investigation of these processes seem to have determined
that must be useful to the individual, and that they can occur automatically
and very quickly. They are functional in that they simplify life. And
help us avoid making mistakes.
So most of these rules reflect the context to which the individual has
been exposed. So contextual variables and individual experience affect
own the individual categorizes, makes comparisons, infers from language
and makes decisions.
People gain intuition with inborn genetic set of information processing
rules. However it is possible to predict or characterize the conditions
under which the relative validity of the intuition is high.
In 1968 Robert Zajoc observed that people had greater positive feelings
for objects that occurred more frequently, as long as no negative consequence
is connected with it. That is the reason that running the same commercial
over and over again is effective.
John Bargh and Tanya Chartrand believe that mental processes that are
outside of conscious awareness determine most of an individual's daily
actions. So, people may think that they planned to take a particular
action, but really their perception triggered the action. Intentions
are formed after the action in an attempt to make sense of behavior.
Robert Cialdini describes methods that people can use to influence others
by knowingly using automatic reactions triggered in social situations.
After the fact automatic thoughts and actions can be described as right
or wrong on the basis of appropriateness to the situation.
These theories have two implications for the education of intuition.
The first is a method to increase the number of right answers or judgments
needs to be found. The second is that Individuals may not be able to
ignore intuitions that take the form of automatic thoughts.
So, deliberate systems to avoid acting on tacit judgments need to be
taught. A greater ability to use deliberate systems increases our humanness.
Using the deliberate system appropriately is a mark of intelligence.
The recent connection between neuroscience and thinking examines the
automatic processes. It also examine the connection between emotion
and intuition; An organism is a unit with a system of systems meant
to ensure the survival of the organism.
Internally those systems must communicate to maintain the body and guide
the functions. They must also deal with coping with environmental demands.
The systems constantly monitor a number of processes and constantly
deal with automatic information processing.
This branch of psychology sees conscious information processing as very
rare. The mind is the information in short term memory and information
that could be recalled from long term memory.
However, because most information is processed unconsciously it is not
in the mind. What information that the mind contains, it contains as
symbols. The meaning the symbols have comes from past experiences and
attempts to interpret current experience.
Evolution is required in order to survive and to ensure that its species
survives. A single organism evolves by adapting to problems. The solutions
that are adopted are usually solutions to problems experienced in the
past and they are not complete redesigns.
They are likely to be adjustments to structures that are there already.
McLean in 1950 described the limbic brain system of human beings. It
existed quite early in mankind's evolution and handles many instinctual
and emotional jobs. Including feeding, flight from danger, fighting,
reproduction and production of reaction in automatic mode.
He goes on to develop the concept of the triune brain. LeDoux disagrees
with that model. He points out that some primitive animals do have neocortex,
which MacLean said was part of late human evolution. LeDoux also points
out that some parts of the brain that Maclean supposed regulated only
emotions are also part of higher mental processes.
The human brain is complex. In the last twenty years the split-brain
theory has become popular. The idea is that different portions of the
brain have different functions. The language ability is typically located
in the left hemispheres. The sensory cortex is responsible for perception
and short-term memory.
The prefrontal cortex is a primate characteristic and is especially
large in humans. It appears to deal with working memory and attention.
The hippocampus is where long-term explicit memory is stored. On the
other hand, vision seems to use several parts of the brain, and so not
all functions can be pin pointed as belonging to one part of the brain.
LeDoux have studied how the brain processes fear. The amygdala a peanut
sized spot deep in the brain seems to be the center of many fear behaviors.
It is connected to the sensory thalamus, which feeds it direct information
about the external world.
It is also connected to the nervous system and higher-level cortical
regions. The amygdala acts swiftly to interpret the incoming data but
the cortical region does a slower more thorough analysis of the same
data. Ledoux points out that fear perform a job by starting appropriate
responses in the face of danger.
However, not all emotions operate the same way. Their functions can
be different. So different areas of the brain probably support emotions.
They may all consist of a set of inputs, an evaluation mechanism, and
LeDoux says that the evaluation mechanism is either a natural trigger
formed by evolution or a learned trigger acquired over time. Matthew
Lieberman suggests that it is the basal ganglia that act as the evaluation
mechanism for positive stimuli.
Antonio Damasio has studied the relation between rational and emotional
behavior. Studying brain damaged individuals, he has found that although
their intellect is intact, but they seem unable to make good personal
and social decisions. They have "flat" emotional reactions.
He developed the somatic marker hypothesis which says that individuals
learn which emotional reaction is appropriate in a situation. Thus the
learned trigger acts as a warning signal. He talks about decision-making
that happens automatically initially in making wise decisions.
Even a rational, deliberative thinker follows some kind of understanding
based on underlying emotional sensing of situations. This sounds very
much like intuition.
In summary many unconscious processes affect what we perceive and learn;
and how we react to the world.
Emotion plays a major role in intuition. Emotion is always physical.
Physical expression of emotions is universal across cultures. Affect
is a less strong physical reaction. It has more to do with person's
general state, like mood. Like emotion affect is triggered by reaction
to specific stimuli.
Emotion and affect are unconscious, but emotions are present in consciousness.
Emotions and affect cause feelings. You can experience emotions or affect
without feelings, but you cannot experience feelings without affect
or emotion. Emotion and affect can input into intuitive thought and
create responses without creating awareness.
In 1952 Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer determined that people may
be aware that their emotions have been aroused without being aware of
which emotional response is appropriate. In 1980, Robert Zajonc argued
that because affective reactions caused preferences, positive emotions
could be stimulated without conscious thought.
In 1993, Carroll Izard described a model for causing emotion recognizing
several levels of information processing. Emotions are the result of
neural, sensory, affective or cognitive processes. There is a loosely
organized hierarchy starting at the base is the neural system. It is
the simplest and quickest.
The cognitive system is at the top and the most complicated and flexible.
Multiple methods can determine our feelings. Alice Isen found it easy
to induce mild positive affects while they remain unaware. However she
decided that affect by itself doesn't determine the decisions people
They do influence the content of thought and reflect the context the
individual finds himself in positive affect causes people to be more
open to new ideas and more relaxed. They may avoid actions that would
end this affect.
James Betman, John Payne and Mary Frances Luce examine the result of
negative emotion on choice process. Usually people trade between accuracy
and effort. The presence of negative affect changes that trade. Joseph
Forgas determined that mood/affect influences intuitive mode of information
processing more than it influences than analytic mode.
Positive affect seems to cause more automatic processing, while negative
affect is connected to more effortful or controlled strategies. Paul
Slovic argues that affect is an intuitive means of making judgment and
choices. Because an individual will have affective reactions to different
stimuli, affect makes choices automatically.
It isn't practical for people to teach themselves emotional reactions.
Because emotions can be analyzed by cognitive interpretation, people
can learn to interpret their emotional states. Accurate insights into
the emotional state enable more effective behavior.
We learn intuition through our experiences, but the learning is unconscious..
Typically we forget that we are constantly updating our observations,
connections and thus filling our banks with explicit and implicit knowledge.
We learn even when we don't mean to learn.
What we learn is determined by learning structures. a kind learning
structure allows people to learn the correct lesson; wicked one teach
the wrong lessons. The reliability of an individual's intuitions depends
on the learning structure in which he learned that intuition. So in
thinking about educating intuition we must consider what kind of learning
structures to create.
While all animal species learn from experience which involves connections
and reinforcement, only the higher primates and humans mix imagination
into the process. Imagination allows a person to visualize different
outcomes and move beyond what cam be seen only physically. It allows
people to create even counterfactual thoughts.
Unfortunately evolution has not prepared us to always engage in counter
factual thinking, which throws us back on to the use of the deliberate
or analytic system. In educating intuition we must invest effort in
imagination to aid in learning from experience.
Is intuition in any way genetic? This is a difficult question because
it is difficult to distinguish at the behavioral level the difference
between instinct and intuition. The process by which we acquire intuition
are internal, it is difficult to determine what the genetic contribution
is as opposed to experience with the environment. Learning is a constant
Automatic processes are always tacitly updating our knowledge through
observation, noticing connections and reinforcing those connections
by following experiences. Feedback is necessary even though often misleading.
Kind learning structures provide people with accurate feedback; the
right lessons are learned from experience. Wicked learning environments
feedback is misleading and right lessons can't be learned.
To determine whether an intuition is valid, the situation in which those
intuitions were acquired must be analyzed. Intuition is a type of expertise
earned through experience in a particular field. Expertise in one field
doesn't ensure expertise in another. Just because an individual's intuitions
in one field are valid does not ensure they are valid in other fields.
There are many types of memory that are a result of the evolutionary
process. Different memory systems handled different jobs. Explicit memory
is what we can access in consciousness. Implicit memory is acquired
automatically and is the base of intuition. The implicit memory systems
are very effective. We know more than we think.
Evaluation intuitive judgment is complicated because it is difficult
to tell whether the subjects in the experiment are using intuition or
analysis. Some times both modes of though are in operation simultaneously.
It is also difficult to ass the validity of an intuition because appropriate
responses change over time.
In order to understand the role of intuition in problem solving it is
necessary to understand the models that person uses to reason. For example,
if visualization is part of the process the it changes the way they
answer. The visualization hypothesis states that if the person engages
in visualization they are likely to involve intuition.
In judging intuitive responses, investigators often claim that intuition
is fundamentally flawed as an information processing technique. The
other possibility is that if the tasks were defined in a more natural
manner, people's performance would improve.
After all people have learned how to respond appropriately in the natural
environment and that over time they have developed response appropriate
to the environments they confront.
This author disagrees with both of these positions. The question he
asks is to what degree does the model that the subject has in mind matches
the investigators' or the real world's.
Of course because we learn from what we see, we can learn wrong things.
Frequently in real world situations it is difficult to sort out the
relevant information and the background noise of irrelevant information.
Chance and cause are often confused.
Physically the evolutionary process often is forced into making compromises.
The width of a woman's pelvis is an example. It may be that the evolution
of our mental abilities has had to make the same kind of compromises.
Since our intuition has evolved through developing natural responses
what happens when technological advances come at a faster and faster
rate. Are all our responses adapting to the rapidly changing environment.
Because that rapid change of intuitive responses is unlikely to have
occurred formal education of the conscious systems is ever more important.
In fact there are many situations where analysis is superior to intuition.
It isn't always so.. Education of intuition should emphasize visualization
and the role of imagination. One way to teach visualization is to hone
The quality of intuition can be judged on the basis of speed, accuracy,
effort, effectiveness, appropriateness etc. Judging accuracy is not
easy since the results must bye compared to results of random choice.
Frequently human predictions are less successful than simple statistical
Intuition in social situations may not be helpful in determining anothers'
personality. The situation may not enable the observer to see the traits
that would indicate the personality. So in a single social situation
it becomes improbable that a person will make an accurate judgment about
Woman's intuition is really expertise in interpersonal relations. It
is domain specific but it can help us understand how such expertise
is acquired and developed and thus help us in educating intuition in
Thought is not limited to either the tacit or the deliberate system.
The tacit system is usually goal oriented. The goal may be formed deliberately
,but the actions that are executed to achieve the goal may be tacit.
There are exceptions to the tacit system being goal oriented. They are
patterns of behavior that have been learned and are used in specific
circumstances. Some of this behavior is bad for the organism like addictions
or would be rejected as inappropriate if the people took time to engage
the deliberative thought processes.
The tacit system is involved in perception, understanding and interpreting
on multiple context cues for triggering memory. a major characteristic
of the tacit system is that it takes no effort to learn from experience.
However the validity of that learning depends on whether the learning
structure is kind or wicked.
The deliberative system works when an individual is process information
is working memory. It takes effort ant awareness, but is not automatically
logical or rational. Leaning can also be done with purpose through explicit
instruction but requires more effort.
Three characteristics of tacit learning work together to create important
1. Habits acquired in making small decisions can adversely affect the
making of extraordinary decisions.
2. The result of many minor decisions can be cumulative and therefore
3. Small decisions are part of a sequence of behavior that interacts
with other peoples' actions.
Because intuitive processes operate outside of consciousness they are
done before the person becomes aware of them. They must be dealt with
afterwards. To recognize and improve intuitions you must understand
how they are acquired.
If the conditions in which a specific intuition was acquired are the
same as those now acting as a trigger then the same intuitive process
is likely to be called on.
There are three types of thought process.
1. Recording without awareness,
2. Taking action automatically,
3. Taking action deliberately.
Recording without awareness occurs when a stimulus encounters preconscious
screen and determined to require neither action nor attention. It is
recorded in long-term memory. No effort is needed yet later the information
can be recalled when needed. This enables us to track experience without
Taking action automatically means that a fear-inducing stimuli causes
an involuntary reaction occurs. In this case however, the person does
become aware of what is happening and the information goes from the
preconscious screen to working memory as well as to the unconscious.
It ravels more quickly to the tacit system and so the person reactions
and then becomes aware of the stimulus and reaction.
Taking action deliberately means that you concentrate on a stimulus
and to produce action. You make up your mind or deliberate avoid out
pus of the tacit system if the action hasn't taken place. One example
is the way we can overcome biases. People can consciously intend when
to and when not to let the tacit system to take control.
Conscious attention is a scarce resource so used sparingly. Rarely shut
down completely it may be directed to one task then reassigned to another
one. It often acts as a monitor. The deliberate system is called on
when the tacit system can't achieve the desired results or if the person
is making a conscious decision.
Feedback occurs because actions have consequences. Feedback from minor
actions is quick and affects working memory and long-term memory. Of
course, observed feedback becomes a stimulus that is again processed.
So a series of action-result feedback loops.
Intuition and expertise are similar because both are acquired through
experience and are domain specific. Both can be gained either through
explicit teaching or experiential learning. They depend on many of the
same psychological mechanisms. They are highly perceptual.
They do have differences.
Expertise does often require the conscious analysis a deliberative method
of thinking. Expertise makes use of both tacit and deliberative processes.
It is possible to talk about different levels of expertise, but not
about levels of intuition. The methods of validating expertise and intuition
are different. The fourth difference is that people develop intuition
in several domains while expertise is confined to a single domain.
Thinking about intuition as a kind of expertise is helpful because it
focuses us on the domains of intuition and the role of environmental
conditions during its development.
In order to educate intuition seven guidelines are helpful.
1. Select/create the learning environment
Questions about learning structures
a. How does it compare to a known example?
b. What is your track record on this kind of intuitive judgment or decision?
c. Has the feedback you've received been clear, immediate, compromised
or affected by luck?
d. Is this decision important? If it is, what about trying to add some
2. Seek feedback
3. Impose breakers in the tacit system
4. Be aware of emotions
5. Explore connections
6. Understand conflict in making choices
7. Make the scientific method automatic.
In order to develop intuition we must improve the ability to learn from
experience by creating awareness, designing a framework for specific
skills, and providing practice.
To create awareness people must use deliberate system. People avoid
using this system taking a passive attitude toward life.
Learning from experience is random rather than deliberate. The individual
becomes the product of what happens to him. So step one is to convince
people that they need to take more control of their thought processes.
They must understand the different types of learning and why experiential
learning has limitations.
To educate your own intuition in a particular field, if all learning
structures were kind, you would only need to expose yourself to the
field. Since they aren't all kind, imagination and communication through
language become skills that have to be developed.
People need to develop mental habits so that without effort and without
conscious thought they due the principles of scientific reasoning.
Since scientific reasoning has four stages, learning to perform each
of the four stages well, increases the probability of learning the right
lessons from experience.
Stage one-Observation: Two types of observational skills are
important. The first is knowing what to look for. The second is the
ability to avoid being influenced by prior ideas. Theories of ideas
affect what you see. Learning to draw or make sketches helps develop
observational skills. Keep paper and pen with you to write down observations
Do double note taking at meetings. One side of the paper the notes you
need of the meeting, the other side jot comments about what you notice
happening. Attempt to look at things from new perspectives. Cultivate
curiosity, which will make you look for specific details. Practice telling
observations from guesses and theories. When observing people how do
you think they see the world?
Adopt a different role for observing. Look for patterns. What irregularities
do you see? Is what you see similar to something else you've seen? What
is missing? What details don't seem important? What is the focus of
your observation? Would your observation shift if the focus shifted?
What are your emotions during this observation?
Stage two-Speculation: Generate alternative explanations to account
for observations. Don't censor your ideas. Attempt to imagine or visualize
ideas that other cultures or life circumstances might give. Use "because"
to link observation to explanation. Adopt another role. Look at it from
a different time period. Think about why the first idea might be wrong.
Create silly alternatives. Try drawing. Play with analogies. Tell stories.
Make many connections. Remember quantity is necessary for quality. Practice.
Stage three-Testing: Is the data true or false? Does the hypothesis
seem consistent with data? Look for data that proves the hypothesis
wrong before you look for evidence that it is right. When you think
the hypothesis is correct ask what would change your mind? What evidence
could convince you that you are mistaken?
Continue speculation within this step. Taking action will not prove
that another idea would be better. Check with other people. Don't expect
absolute proof. Has luck or change played a role in forming your answer.
How important is it to be true? Seek feedback.
Stage four-Generalization: Write down what you think you have
learned in your journal. It generates feedback. Recognize the circumstances
in which knowledge was gained. Can the learning be generalized to a
wider range of phenomena? What are its limits? Does what you've learned
have specific applications? Does what you have learned remind you of
something? What was your track record then?
How is the past experience relevant to the new?
Intuition is important and normal part of the processing of information.
It differs from instinct because instinct is unlearned and intuition
is learned. Instinct handles only very basic level survival information
processing. Intuition handles more complicated information processing
about emotions and responses to situations.
Insight is a kind of intuitions that unexpectedly solves a problem by
accessing relevant knowledge stored in long-term memory with out our
consciously calling on it to do so. It allows individuals to understand
the structure of problems.
Kenneth Bowers says intuition occurs either in context of justification
or context of discovery. The context of discovery covers guesses, hunches,
generation of hypotheses. It involves informed judgment. In other words,
memory is activated by a clue to coherence. The guiding stage uses a
sense of coherence to guide the growing activation of memory determining
which memories become active.
This is a subconscious notion of coherence and may not have much to
do with rational coherence. The second step is integration. It occurs
when a hypothesis receives enough activation to break through the threshold
of consciousness. It will therefore be a hypothesis that is attractive
to the one who came up with it, but it will need testing.
The conflict between analysis and intuition occurs only when the answers
they provide disagree. When intuition is put up against the statistical
rules the statistical rules are more accurate. So if choosing to use
a statistical rule can be called a deliberative thought deliberate thought
is superior to intuition at least in some tasks.
Five questions remain to consider. In what circumstances is intuition
likely to be valid? When is deliberate thought likely to be valid? How
do the match of task and mode of thought affect validation? What is
the cumulative effect of relying on either system? What happens in this
debate when it is raised from the individual to the group or societal
Intuition is more likely to be valid when learned in a kind environment.
Because the tacit system records everything we experience, so we need
to interrupt its actions to overcome the tendency to make inferences
based on what could be statistic abnormalities. Deliberate thought is
most valid where a well-defined and accepted model exists.
However in complex decisions analytic models will not capture all the
nuances of the situation and because small errors in analysis can have
large consequences, intuition which is more holistic needs to be called
on. People need to feel comfortable with decisions they make in complex
situation and comfort is best achieved when both deliberative and tacit
information processing are used.
One goal of education should be to teach when people should use specific
forms of deliberative thought. People may want to follow their intuitions
but success comes with knowing when to apply appropriate analytic rules.
Kenneth Hammond has developed a cognitive continuum for processing information
that runs from intuition to analysis with quasi-rational grades in between
He believes that tasks can be placed along that continuum on the basis
of their ability to induce intuition, quasi-rationality or analytical
cognition. Hammond believes that validity of judgment is affected by
the match between the demands of the task and the type of cognition
Timothy Wilson and Jonathan Schooler studied the quality of choice.
The question was whether people are better off trusting their initial
feelings or delaying in order to use deliberate information processing.
Choices are based on preferences, which are acquired unconsciously through
interaction with the environment. They found that because the initial
feeling is inaccessible, and because reflection will bring about reasons
on the conscious level, people will change their choices to match the
While if deliberation were organized in a way to create valid reasons,
the outcomes might be better than initial intuitions. However in matters
of preference making reasons for choices explicit actually created inferior
In other words for intuitive tasks providing explicit deliberative reasons
has a negative effect, but on factual tasks generating reasons has a
When requested to verbalize thought, people shift to a deliberate mode
of information processing. Verbalization forces individuals to think
deliberately and shuts off the tacit processes.
Ellen Langer classifies mental activity and mindless and mindful. In
the mindless mode the individual acts automatically without conscious
thought. Our categories and generalizations trap our perceptions and
There is a danger in automatic behavior causing prejudice and misunderstanding.
She also warns of the danger of acting on a single perspective.
In the mindful mode the individual is more aware and takes control of
the actions he is performing. Langer says mindful thinking done with
regularity has important positive effects. Mindfulness helps the individual
gain a greater sense of control over his life. Adopting mindfulness
has important cumulative effects even though in specific cases there
is small difference between tacit and deliberate thought.
Because groups and societies are involved in information processing
the debate about intuitive and analytic modes of thought can be carried
to this larger level.
Hammond uses his cognitive continuum to examine this questions. He covers
1. Mode of cognition(intuition to analysis)
2. Degree of control possible(amount of intervention policy makers can
4. Covert nature
5. Coherence theories (standards by which correctness is established)
Using these variables Hammond argues that the use of deliberate processing
of information is better for policy decision-making. Partially this
is because it is not reasonable to think others will follow your intuitions.
Finally If individuals want to educate their intuitions they can take
positive steps. That does mean they have to work at it. You must become
more mindful by making more use of the deliberate system.
However, like most self-help projects, educating intuition demands commitment.
Maintaining commitment is difficult and so. Only when what is learned
by the deliberate system can be incorporated into the tacit system will
educating intuition become easier.
First identify which skill you wish to develop and put them in order
of importance Consider your strengths and weaknesses, and the skills
of observation, speculation, testing, and generalization.
Two: List the skills that you most want to acquire as specifically as
possible. One example is testing a hypothesis for information that will
disprove it. Limit your attention to two skills and find ways over several
weeks to force you to remember these skills daily. You must know what
the skill is and you must identify when you could or did use it.
When the skill becomes automatic, you realize you don't have to make
yourself do it, it is time to move to the next skill.
The more effort you put into the process the more you will learn.
There are many questions still unanswered:
1. How can we describe in detail the framework for joint operation of
the two systems?
2. How can we describe the tacit system in greater detail of subsystems?
3. What effects do different types of tasks have on intuition?
4. What effects do different types of environment have on intuition?
5. How do task characteristics interact with learning?
6. How can we describe learning structures accurately?
7. What environmental issues affect implicit learning?
8. How do individual differences influence learning within an environment?
9. How domain specific are intuitive skills?
10. What are the different parts of intuition and how can they be classified
from an educational point of view?
11. How can we define, implement and evaluate programs for educating
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