Researchers Amanda Woolley and Olga Kostopoulou propose that there are three types of intuition. In their study they asked 18 family doctors to recount two cases in their career where intuition played major role in their decision making. Of all the cases, after rigorous processes, only 24 were recognized as examples of intuition. After close examination of the 24 cases the researchers noticed what they think are three types of intuition.
In their paper Clinical Intuition in Family Medicine: More Than First Impressions, they outline these types of intuition, which they simply call gut feeling, recognition and insight.
This is when despite conflicting evidence you still have a feeling that something is the case. Say that your boyfriend is acting suspiciously, he comes home smelling a little funny, comes home late and doesn’t give you the same kind of affection anymore. Your logical conclusion is that he is cheating on you. He comes home even smelling of another woman’s perfume. Despite these clear warning signs you have a strong feeling that he is not cheating, in fact you feel he is planning to surprise you with something. You are conflicted between this gut feeling and what reason is telling you. In the end you find out he has been planning a surprise party for you with all your friends from far away you often talk about longingly. He has been getting off work early and driving to see them and plan the perfect party for you. No cheating there.
This is when despite first appearances, conflicting evidence and little information you quickly come to the conclusion that something else is the case. This happens right on the get go. Like when suddenly your light goes out, immediately despite seeing that your light bulb has blown out, you just think there is something wrong with the wiring. You install another light bulb and sure enough it quickly blows out. You were right all along, it just came to you and you couldn’t shake that feeling off, until you did installed it. Something had been nagging you from the get go that a new light bulb is more than you needed to fix your problem.
Insight is when you have been struggling with a problem or situation. You went through all the different ways you can fix it and no solution seems to be right. You are completely stuck. Then suddenly when you aren’t thinking about it, it hits you out of nowhere. A sort of an “Aha!” moment, except this time your conclusion/solution has no evidence or so little it would be irrational to believe it. Let’s get back to your boyfriend, so he has been acting suspicious. This time you can’t seem explain his strange behavior. You have looked at all ways possible to explain it but nothing really explains what is going on with him. Suddenly, when eating dinner alone and thinking about work, you just get this clarity, this feeling that he has joined a cult, suddenly this feels right. Although there is no cult literature, extreme changes in personality or anything that might suggest this. But you are dead sure. And sure enough he comes home with one of the cult members to try recruit you.
I’m sure we can all recognize these types of intuition. I think the researchers are quite right.
What do you think?
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