Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Go With Your Gut -- Intuition Is More Than Just A Hunch, Says New Research

Date:
March 6, 2008
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
Most of us experience 'gut feelings' we can't explain, such as instantly loving -- or hating -- a new property when we're househunting or the snap judgments we make on meeting new people. Now researchers say these feelings -- or intuitions -- are real and we should take our hunches seriously.

Most of us experience ‘gut feelings’ we can’t explain, such as instantly loving – or hating – a new property when we’re househunting or the snap judgements we make on meeting new people. Now researchers at Leeds say these feelings – or intuitions – are real and we should take our hunches seriously.

According to a team led by Professor Gerard Hodgkinson of the Centre for Organisational Strategy, Learning and Change at Leeds University Business School, intuition is the result of the way our brains store, process and retrieve information on a subconscious level and so is a real psychological phenomenon which needs further study to help us harness its potential.

There are many recorded incidences where intuition prevented catastrophes and cases of remarkable recoveries when doctors followed their gut feelings. Yet science has historically ridiculed the concept of intuition, putting it in the same box as parapsychology, phrenology and other ‘pseudoscientific’ practices.

Through analysis of a wide range of research papers examining the phenomenon, the researchers conclude that intuition is the brain drawing on past experiences and external cues to make a decision – but one that happens so fast the reaction is at a non-conscious level. All we’re aware of is a general feeling that something is right or wrong.

“People usually experience true intuition when they are under severe time pressure or in a situation of information overload or acute danger, where conscious analysis of the situation may be difficult or impossible,” says Prof Hodgkinson.

He cites the recorded case of a Formula One driver who braked sharply when nearing a hairpin bend without knowing why – and as a result avoided hitting a pile-up of cars on the track ahead, undoubtedly saving his life.

“The driver couldn’t explain why he felt he should stop, but the urge was much stronger than his desire to win the race,” explains Professor Hodgkinson. “The driver underwent forensic analysis by psychologists afterwards, where he was shown a video to mentally relive the event. In hindsight he realised that the crowd, which would have normally been cheering him on, wasn’t looking at him coming up to the bend but was looking the other way in a static, frozen way. That was the cue. He didn’t consciously process this, but he knew something was wrong and stopped in time.”

Prof Hodgkinson believes that all intuitive experiences are based on the instantaneous evaluation of such internal and external cues – but does not speculate on whether intuitive decisions are necessarily the right ones.

“Humans clearly need both conscious and non-conscious thought processes, but it’s likely that neither is intrinsically ‘better’ than the other,” he says.

As a Chartered occupational psychologist, Prof Hodgkinson is particularly interested in the impact of intuition within business, where many executives and managers claim to use intuition over deliberate analysis when a swift decision is required. “We’d like to identify when business people choose to switch from one mode to the other and why – and also analyse when their decision is the correct one. By understanding this phenomenon, we could then help organisations to harness and hone intuitive skills in their executives and managers.”

The research is published in the current issue of the British Journal of Psychology. The article comprises a critical review of previously published theory and research within psychology and the wider behavioural sciences.

Journal reference:Hodgkinson, G.P., Langan-Fox, J. and Sadler-Smith, E. (2008). Intuition: A fundamental bridging construct in the behavioural sciences. British Journal of Psychology, 99, 1-27.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Go With Your Gut -- Intuition Is More Than Just A Hunch, Says New Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305144210.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2008, March 6). Go With Your Gut -- Intuition Is More Than Just A Hunch, Says New Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305144210.htm
University of Leeds. "Go With Your Gut -- Intuition Is More Than Just A Hunch, Says New Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305144210.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins