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Intuition is a cognitive process which has has many related meanings, including:

The verb intuit means to grasp by intuition. Intuition is trans-intellectual, while instinct is pre-intellectual.

Intuition as form of knowledge

Intuition is an unconscious form of knowledge. It is immediate and often not open to rational/analytical thought processes. Rationalisation of an intuition and the development of a chain of logic to demonstrate more structurally why it is valid may follow later.

Intuition differs from an opinion since the latter is based on experience, while an intuition is held to be affected by previous experiences only unconsciously. Intuition is also said to differ from instinct, which does not have the experience element at all. A person who has an intuitive opinion cannot immediately fully explain why he or she holds that view. Intuition is not limited to opinions but can encompass the ability to know valid solutions to problems.

Intuition has advantages in solving complex problems and finding new results.

Intuition is one source of common sense. It can also help in induction to gain empirical knowledge. Sources of intuition are feeling, experiences and knowledge.

An important intuitive method is brainstorming.

Intuition does not mean to find a solution immediately, though it does mean the solution comes unexplicably. Sometimes it helps to sleep one night. There is an old Russian maxim: "The morning is wiser than the evening" ("Утро вечера мудреннее").

Intuition plays a key role in Romanticism, and it is the highest form of skill acquisition in the Dreyfus and Dreyfus model.

Intuition in psychotherapy

Main article: Intuition in psychotherapy

Intuition in philosophy

In the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, intuition is one of the basic cognitive faculties, equivalent to what might loosely be called perception. Kant held that our mind casts all of our external intuitions in the form of space, and all of our internal intuitions (memory, thought) in the form of time.

Intuitionism is a position in philosophy of mathematics derived from Kant's claim that all mathematical knowledge is knowledge of the pure forms of the intuition.

Intuitionistic logics are a class of logics, devised and advanced by Arend Heyting and Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer and more recently by Michael Dummett, to accommodate intuitionism about mathematics (as well as anti-realism more generally). These logics are characterized by rejecting the law of excluded middle: as a consequence they do not in general accept rules such as disjunctive syllogism and reductio ad absurdum. Intuitionism is a form of constructivism.

A situation which is or appears to be true but violates our intuition is called a paradox (a paradox can also be a logical self-contradiction). An example of this is the Birthday paradox.

A few systems act in a counter-intuitive way. Attempts to change such systems often lead to unintended consequences.

Intuition and deception detection

Drs. Albrechsten, Meissner and Susa of the University of Texas at El Paso conducted two separate studies of processing style (intuitive vs. deliberative processing) in a deception detection task. In the first experiment, a thin-slicing manipulation was used to show that intuitive processing can lead to more accurate judgments of deception when compared with traditional forms of processing. In the second experiment, participants who engaged in a second task performed more accurately in a deception task than participants who were asked to provide a verbal rationale for each decision. The results converged suggest that intuitive processing can significantly improve deception detection performances.

See also


  • DePaul, M. & Ramsey, W. (eds.), Rethinking Intuition: The Psychology of Intuition and Its Role in Philosophical Inquiry, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, (Lanham), 1998.
  • Henning Plessner, Cornelia Betsch, Tilmann Betsch (Eds)(2007) Intuition in Judgment and Decision Making. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.ISBN 9780805857412
  • Eugene Sadler-Smith (2007)Inside Intuition. Routledge. ISBN 9780415414531
  • Robbie Davis-Floyd, P. Sven Arvidson (Eds)(1997).Intuition: The Inside Story: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge. ISBN 9780415915939

External links

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