Intuition: A Challenge for Psychological Research on Decision Making

Psychological Inquiry (Impact Factor: 4.73). 10/2010; 21(4):338-353. DOI: 10.1080/1047840X.2010.520260


Intuition represents an enormous challenge for research on decision making. What is intuition? How does it modify our appreciation of cognitive abilities? When should people trust intuition? These questions set the agenda for this article, which (a) defines intuition, (b) comments on how intuition has been viewed across time in the decision making literature, (c) stresses the need to specify different types of intuition, (d) discusses when intuition is likely to lead to good decisions, and (e) presents four challenges. These are, first, elucidating the evolution of preferences; second, illuminating culturally acquired values such as morals; third, the need to educate intuitive responses; and fourth, problems in using intuition for decision making in a changing world. However, the major challenge facing intuition research is the need for conceptual work to define the nature and scope of different intuitive phenomena. To be useful, the concept should not become too broad.

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    • "There is also evidence that key decision-makers often tend to favor deliberation over intuition when making real-life decisions (Klingebiel & Meyer, 2013). Intuitive decision-making produces quick solutions based on pattern-matching or other experience-based evaluations (Klein, 1995) and allows access to information that would not be accessible through conscious thought (Hogarth, 2010). However, intuition cannot be used to generalize beyond a specific context, does not involve the acquisition of outside information, and suffers from various biases (Dane & Pratt, 2007;Kahneman & Frederick, 2002;Tversky & Kahneman, 2000) that could lead to dangerously inaccurate perceptions of reality. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite intense research on decision-making in action, we still know little about when decision-makers rely on deliberate vs. intuitive decision-making in decision situations under complexity and uncertainty. This paper studies decision-making modes (deliberate vs. intuitive) in complex task environments contingent on perceived complexity, experience, and decision style preference. We find that relatively inexperienced decision-makers respond to increases in subjective complexity with an increase in deliberation and tend to follow their decision style preference. Experienced decision-makers are less guided by their decision preference and respond to increases in subjective complexity only minimally. Our paper contributes to a developing stream of research linking decision-making with intra-personal and environmental properties and fosters our understanding of the conditions under which decision-makers rely on intuitive vs. deliberate decision modes. In doing so, we go one step further towards a comprehensive theory of decision-making in action.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · May 2015
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    • "AEgisdóttir et al., 2006; Garb, 1998; Strasser & Gruber, 2004; Witteman & Van den Bercken, 2007). In these studies, experienced clinicians typically showed relatively low levels of accuracy in diagnosing mental disorders (Brailey, Vasterling, & Franks, 2001), yet they were overconfident about the accuracy of their choices (Croskerry & Norman, 2008; Hogarth, 2010; Menkhoff, Schmeling, & Schmidt, 2013). Spengler et al. (2007) performed a meta-analysis of published work on diagnostic accuracy and concluded that there is a reliable but small effect (d = 0.12) in favour of experienced over less experienced clinicians. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
    • "5 In line with these conclusions , Newell and Rakow (2011) presented a Bayesian analysis of 16 unconscious-thought experiments from their laboratories (including both published and unpublished studies) and found overwhelming evidence in support of the null hypothesis of no difference between conscious and unconscious thought. A charitable interpretation is that it is too early to draw strong conclusions about the robustness of the effect (cf. Hogarth 2010). Vagaries of procedures, experimental instructions, differences in population samples, and differences in stimulus materials are all likely to contribute noise and hamper interpretation. "
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    ABSTRACT: While showing unconscious influences on complex decisions is indeed difficult, relevant awareness in relatively simpler subliminal paradigms is more easily assessed. Utilizing objective detection (vs. more typical identification or classification) tasks to assess awareness overcomes longstanding residual methodological problems, and prior work using such methods (e.g., Snodgrass & Shevrin 2006) clearly shows unconscious influences on simple decisions.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Behavioral and Brain Sciences
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Questions & Answers about this publication

  • Han Ping Fung added an answer in Fears:
    How can we explain our intuitions? Are there any studies on intuitions?

    Are intuitions our fears, anxieties, our sixth sense.   

    Han Ping Fung

    Think intuition is the ability of mind to understand or make decision quickly / without going through certain processing / inferencing / reasoning like instinct, 6th sense etc.  Finding there are many RG discussions & articles related to intuition which include the following to share:'_Expertise_in_Children's_Epistemic_Trust

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      ABSTRACT: Several authors have hailed intuition as one of the defining features of expertise. In particular, while disagreeing on almost anything that touches on human cognition and artificial intelligence, Hubert Dreyfus and Herbert Simon agreed on this point. However, the highly influential theories of intuition they proposed differed in major ways, especially with respect to the role given to search and as to whether intuition is holistic or analytic. Both theories suffer from empirical weaknesses. In this paper, we show how, with some additions, a recent theory of expert memory (the template theory) offers a coherent and wide-ranging explanation of intuition in expert behaviour. It is shown that the theory accounts for the key features of intuition: it explains the rapid onset of intuition and its perceptual nature, provides mechanisms for learning, incorporates processes showing how perception is linked to action and emotion, and how experts capture the entirety of a situation. In doing so, the new theory addresses the issues problematic for Dreyfus’s and Simon’s theories. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
      Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Minds and Machines

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