Demystifying Intuition: What It Is, What It Does, and How It Does It

Psychological Inquiry (Impact Factor: 6.65). 10/2010; 21(4):295-312. DOI: 10.1080/1047840X.2010.523875

ABSTRACT Definitions of intuition are discussed and two working definitions are proposed. This is followed by a list of eight unresolved problems concerning intuition. It is suggested that all of these problems can be resolved by cognitive-experiential self-theory (CEST), a dual-process theory of personality according to which people process information with two systems, an experiential/intuitive system that is an associative learning system that humans share with other animals and a uniquely human verbal reasoning system. Intuition is considered to be a subsystem of the experiential/ intuitive system that operates by exactly the same principles and attributes but has narrower boundary conditions. The next section includes a presentation of the most relevant aspects of CEST with an emphasis on the operating rules and attributes of the experiential/intuitive system. This is followed by demonstrating how the operation of the experiential/intuitive system can resolve each of the unresolved problems concerning intuition. The article closes with a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the experiential/intuitive and rational/analytic systems. It is concluded that neither system is generally superior to the other, as each has important advantages and disadvantages.

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    • "Even if we could confirm that reflective thinkers have fewer or weaker paranormal beliefs than others, it would not explain the robust findings that the tendency to rely on one's intuitions is connected to belief in paranormal phenomena. Besides bringing up the notion that in both intuitions and paranormal beliefs, personal experiences are taken as self-evidently valid even when they contradict scientific knowledge (Epstein, 2010; King et al., 2007; Sadler-Smith, 2011), the reasons why intuitive thinking predisposes to paranormal beliefs have been unaddressed. We suggest that involuntary inhibitory processes outside conscious control explain this relationship. "
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    • "These two information processing styles are independent, and are assumed to operate in parallel and to be interactive. Together they contribute to behaviour, with their relative contributions varying depending on the situation and the person (e.g., Epstein 2010). Individual differences in self-assessed ability and preference to engage in these thinking styles ( " experientiality " and " rationality " as measured by the rational-experiential inventory, REI; Pacini and Epstein 1999) have been found to be associated with different personality characteristics and actual judgments and decisions. "
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    Synthese 12/2012; 189(1). DOI:10.1007/s11229-012-0081-3 · 0.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rationality in decision making is commonly assessed by comparing choice performance against normative standards. We argue that such a performance-centered approach blurs the distinction between rational choice and adaptive behavior. Instead, rational choice should be assessed with regard to the way individuals make analytic decisions. We suggest that analytic decisions can be made in two different modes in which control processes are directed at different levels. In a RUN mode, thought is directed at controlling the operation of a decision strategy. In the JUMP mode, the individual analyses the interpretation of the decision situation as well as the appropriateness of alternative strategies. We suggest that a decision should be considered “rational” when an individual is able to switch between these modes and balance their interaction.
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