Article

What neuroscience can tell about intuitive processes in the context of perceptual discovery.

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 4.49). 01/2007; 18(12):2077-87. DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2006.18.12.2077
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT According to the Oxford English Dictionary, intuition is "the ability to understand or know something immediately, without conscious reasoning." Most people would agree that intuitive responses appear as ideas or feelings that subsequently guide our thoughts and behaviors. It is proposed that people continuously, without conscious attention, recognize patterns in the stream of sensations that impinge upon them. What exactly is being recognized is not clear yet, but we assume that people detect potential content based on only a few aspects of the input (i.e., the gist). The result is a vague perception of coherence which is not explicitly describable but instead embodied in a "gut feeling" or an initial guess, which subsequently biases thought and inquiry. To approach the nature of intuitive processes, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging when participants were working at a modified version of the Waterloo Gestalt Closure Task. Starting from our conceptualization that intuition involves an informed judgment in the context of discovery, we expected activation within the median orbito-frontal cortex (OFC), as this area receives input from all sensory modalities and has been shown to be crucially involved in emotionally driven decisions. Results from a direct contrast between intuitive and nonintuitive judgments, as well as from a parametric analysis, revealed the median OFC, the lateral portion of the amygdala, anterior insula, and ventral occipito-temporal regions to be activated. Based on these findings, we suggest our definition of intuition to be promising and a good starting point for future research on intuitive processes.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
241 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Actions observed in everyday life normally consist of one person performing sequences of goal-directed actions. The present fMRI study tested the hypotheses that observers are influenced by the actor's identity, even when this information is task-irrelevant, and that this information shapes their expectation on subsequent actions of the same actor. Participants watched short video clips of action steps that either pertained to a common action with an overarching goal or not, and were performed by either one or by varying actors (2 × 2 design). Independent of goal coherence, actor coherence elicited activation in dorsolateral and ventromedial frontal cortex, together pointing to a spontaneous attempt to integrate all actions performed by one actor. Interestingly, watching an actor performing unrelated actions elicited additional activation in left inferior frontal gyrus, suggesting a search in semantic memory in an attempt to construct an overarching goal that can reconcile the disparate action steps with a coherent intention. Post-experimental surveys indicate that these processes occur mostly unconsciously. Findings strongly suggest a spontaneous expectation bias toward actor-related episodes in action observers, and hence to the immense impact of actor information on action observation. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 08/2013; · 6.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study compares the neural substrate of moral decision making processes between Korean and American participants. By comparison with Americans, Korean participants showed increased activity in the right putamen associated with socio-intuitive processes and right superior frontal gyrus associated with cognitive control processes under a moral-personal condition, and in the right postcentral sulcus associated with mental calculation in familiar contexts under a moral-impersonal condition. On the other hand, American participants showed a significantly higher degree of activity in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) associated with conflict resolution under the moral-personal condition, and in the right medial frontal gyrus (MFG) associated with simple cognitive branching in non-familiar contexts under the moral-impersonal condition when a more lenient threshold was applied, than Korean participants. These findings support the ideas of the interactions between the cultural background, education, and brain development, proposed in the field of cultural psychology and educational psychology. The study introduces educational implications relevant to moral psychologists and educators.
    Behavioural brain research 02/2014; 259:215-228. · 3.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent research indicates that human observers can perform high-level cognitive tasks typically associated with working memory processes (e.g. learning of complex item sequences, reading, arithmetic or delayed visual discrimination) independently of conscious awareness of the relevant information. However, the neural basis of this phenomenon is not known. Here we show neuroimaging and neurostimulation evidence that dorsolateral and anterior prefrontal cortex can operate on non-conscious information in a manner that goes beyond automatic forms of sensorimotor priming and which may support implicit working memory processes and higher-level cognitive function.
    NeuroImage 01/2014; · 6.25 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
43 Downloads
Available from
May 19, 2014