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Intuition is the apparent ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. “The word ‘intuition’ comes from the Latin word 'intueri', which is often roughly translated as meaning ‘to look inside’ or ‘to contemplate’." Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify. For this reason, it has been the subject of study in psychology, as well as a topic of interest in the supernatural. The "right brain" is popularly associated with intuitive processes such as aesthetic abilities. Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery. Intuition is also a common subject of New Age writings.

In psychology and personality assessment

Intuition is one of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung's four 'psychological types' or ego functions. In this early model of the personal psyche, intuition was opposed by sensation on one axis, while feeling was opposed by thinking on another axis. Jung argued that, in a given individual, one of these four functions was primary — most prominent or developed — in the consciousness. The opposing function would typically be underdeveloped in that individual. The remaining pair (on the other axis) would be consciously active, but to a lesser extent than the primary function. This schema is perhaps most familiar today as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

In psychology, intuition can encompass the ability to know valid solutions to problems and decision making. For example, the recognition primed decision (RPD) model was described by Gary Klein in order to explain how people can make relatively fast decisions without having to compare options. Klein found that under time pressure, high stakes, and changing parameters, experts used their base of experience to identify similar situations and intuitively choose feasible solutions. Thus, the RPD model is a blend of intuition and analysis. The intuition is the pattern-matching process that quickly suggests feasible courses of action. The analysis is the mental simulation, a conscious and deliberate review of the courses of action .

An important intuitive method for identifying options is brainstorming . According to the renowned Neuropsychologist and Neurobiologist Roger Wolcott Sperry though, Intuition is a right-brain activity while Factual and Mathematical analysis is a left-brain activity.

The reliability of one’s intuition depends greatly on past knowledge and occurrences in a specific area. For example, someone who has had more experiences with children will tend to have a better instinct or intuition about what they should do in certain situations with them. This is not to say that one with a great amount of experience is always going to have an accurate intuition (because some can be biased); however, the chances of it being more reliable are definitely amplified.

It has been asserted that Jung's analytical psychological theory of synchronicity is equal to intellectual intuition.

Intuition and spirituality

Intuition is commonly discussed in writings of spiritual thought. Contextually, there is often an idea of a transcendent and more qualitative mind of one’s spirit towards which a person strives, or towards which consciousness evolves. Typically, intuition is regarded as a conscient commonality between earthly knowledge and the higher spiritual knowledge and appears as flashes of insight. It is asserted that by definition intuition cannot be judged by logical reasoning. For Rudolf Steiner, intuition is the third of three stages of higher knowledge, coming after imagination and inspiration, and is characterized by a state of immediate and complete experience of, or even union with, the object of knowledge without loss of the subject's individual ego.

Thomas Merton discussed variations of intuition in a series of essays. In describing aesthetic intuition he asserted that the artist has a subjective identification with an object that is both heightened and intensified and thereby “sees” the object’s spiritual reality. In discussing Zen meditation he asserted that a direct intuition is derived through a “struggle against conceptual knowledge.” An end result is “the existent knows existence, or 'isness,' while completely losing sight of itself as a ‘knowing subject.’”

The high value of intuition in the Sufi schemata is related by El Sayeed Idries Shah el-Hashimi el-Naqshbandi, Grand Sheikh of the Dervish Orders.

Studies and claims

Intuitive abilities were quantitatively tested at Yale University in the 1970s. While studying nonverbal communication, researchers noted that some subjects were able to read nonverbal facial cues before reinforcement occurred. In employing a similar design, they noted that highly intuitive subjects made decisions quickly but could not identify their rationale. Their level of accuracy, however, did not differ from that of nonintuitive subjects..

Law enforcement officers often claim to observe suspects and immediately "know" that they possess a weapon or illicit narcotic substances. Often unable to articulate why they reacted or what prompted them at the time of the event, they sometimes retrospectively can plot their actions based upon what had been clear and present danger signals. Such examples liken intuition to "gut feelings" and when viable illustrate preconscious activity.

Various definitions

Intuition is a combination of historical (empirical) data, deep and heightened observation and an ability to cut through the thickness of surface reality. Intuition is like a slow motion machine that captures data instantaneously and hits you like a ton of bricks. Intuition is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding — a gut feeling. Intuition is not pseudo-science. - Abella Arthur

A form of psychic radar employed in an attempt to ‘feel’ out the other situation or person. It usually involves relying on one’s own fear-based interpretations based on past emotional pains or assumed future pains. It is held in higher esteem than an accurate common-sensical appraisal of the facts as perceived by the physical senses. - Actualism


Intuition Peak on Livingston Islandmarker in the South Shetland Islandsmarker, Antarcticamarker is named in appreciation of the role of scientific intuition for the advancement of human knowledge.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Oxford English Dictionary
  2. Carlin Flora. "Gut Almighty". Psychology Today. Vol 40. Issue 3:68-75,2007
  3. Converting Words into Pictures--Reading Comprehension Guide--Academic Support
  4. Left/Right Processing.
  5. Right-Brain Hemisphere.
  6. Gerald Holton, Yehuda Elkana. Albert Einstien: Historical and Cultural Perspectives, Dover Publications, July 1997, p.97. ISBN 0486298795 "The workings of intuition transcend those of the intellect, and as is well known, innovation is often a triumph of intuition over logic."
  7. Peter Steinfels Beliefs The New York Times, July 13, 1996
  8. C.G. Jung. Psychological Types. Bollingen Series XX, Volume 6, Princeton University Press, 1971.
  9. Allen Chuck Ross, "Brain Hemispheric Functions and the Native American," Journal of American Indian Education, August 1989.
  10. Eugene Sadler-Smith. Inside Intuition. 2008.
  11. Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Publication Department, 1970, p.65. ISBN 81-7058-187-7
  12. Alice A. Bailey, The Light of the Soul, Lucis Publishing Company, 1927, p.224. ISBN B000XPMTB0
  13. Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Publication Department, 1970, p.69. ISBN 81-7058-187-7
  14. Lorenzo Ravagli, Zanders Erzählungen, Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-8305-1613, pp. 680ff
  15. Thomas Merton The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton, New Directions Publishing, March 1985, pp.341, 348. ISBN 0811209318
  16. Thomas Merton, The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton, New Directions Publishing, March 1985, p.364. ISBN 0811209318
  17. Idries Shah, Thinkers of the East, pp 191 et seq, ISBN 0 224 61912 8 c/r 1971
  18. AJ Giannini, J Daood,MC Giannini, R Boniface, PG Rhodes. Intellect versus intuition--dichotomy in the reception of nonverbal communication.Journal of General Psychology. 99:19-24,1978
  19. AJ Giannini, ME Barringer, MC Giannini, RH Loiselle. Lack of relationship between handedness and intuitive and intellectual (rationalistic) modes of information processing. Journal of General Psychology. 111:31-37 1984
  20. Anthony J. Pinizzotto, Ph.D., Edward F. Davis, M.A., and Charles E. Miller III Emotional/rational decision making in law enforcement (Federal Bureau of Investigation), Free Online Library, 2004

Further reading

  • Chopra, Deepak, and Judith Orloff. The Power of Intuition. Hay House, 2005. (Audio) ISBN 978-1401906221
  • Davis, Elizabeth. Women's Intuition. Celestial Arts, 1989. ISBN 978-0890875728
  • Mayer, Elizabeth Lloyd. Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind. Bantam, 2008. ISBN 978-0553382235
  • McTaggart, Lynn. The Intention Experiment. Free Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0743276962
  • Schulz, Mona Lisa, and Christriane Northrup. Awakening Intuition. Three Rivers Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0-609-80424-7
  • Sheldrake, Rupert. Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals. Three Rivers Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0609805336
  • Sheldrake, Rupert. The Sense of Being Stared At: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind. Crown, 2003. ISBN 978-0609608074
  • Sheldrake, Rupert. Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science. Park Street Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0892819898
  • Wilde, Stuart Intuition. Hay House, 1996. (Audio) ISBN 978-1401906740
  • Wilde, Stuart. The Sixth Sense: Including the Secrets of the Etheric Subtle Body. Hay House, 2000. ISBN 978-1561705016
  • Levin, Michal. Spiritual Intelligence: Awakening the Power of Your Spirituality and Intuition. Hodder & Stoughton, 2000. ISBN 978-0340733943
  • Doc Childre and Howard Martin. The HEARTMATH Solution. HarperSanFrancisco, 1999. ISBN 978-0062516060

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