Back in the XX century, the researchers noticed a strange pattern: the most frequently occurring disasters and accidents with the planes and trains take place when they are filled with passengers half of their capacity, while the safe trips are sent en route with at least 76% of the passengers present.
This mysterious finding can be explained only by the existence of intuition. Life expectancy and its quality directly correlate with the “sixth” sense. But why isn’t this gift uniformly distributed among people?
Intuition of destiny
Intuitive knowledge can actively influence a person’s life: on many occasions, the intuition saved someone’s life (in fact, there was someone who had not booked tickets to the advertised as “absolutely safe” “Titanic” vessel). There are many examples when intuition helped people to get wealthier. An experienced entrepreneur sometimes will get a gut feeling to discern a hidden catch in the behavior of potential partners.
This is nothing short of phenomenon called social intuition. Social intuition tells young lady who is about to get married about the most suitable candidate she will choose. There are a number of professions in which social intuition plays a truly crucial role: judges sometimes intuitively render their verdicts, estimating at a subconscious level “untrustworthy” elements of society; medical specialists intuitively diagnose complex health problems.
The scope and extent for self-realization of social intuition for representatives of HR-department can also be overwhelming! After all, with well-developed social instincts they can “see” right through potential jobseekers: catch on embellishments and to predict their accomplishments and potential relationships with other employees within the company.
Practical experience is the basis for intuitive knowledge. Over time, we create some common stereotypes: good – evil, superficial -wise, and so on. Remarkably, we can discern another person’s qualities instantly, and it does not even need to involve an exchange of words!
The status and personal character of another individual are collected only by peripheral layers of consciousness: the gestures and facial expressions will be directly transformed into accumulated intuitive profile, which then prompts us to form an opinion about these people. Later, this opinion toward another person may change when the conscious analysis comes to play, but not during the stage of intuitive assessment.
Intuition is somewhat manifested in the mentally ill people: patients with schizophrenia extract only unlikely associations from their memory, thereby lowering the efficiency of intuitive forecast. Neurotic patients doubt over which of the many options to choose. Healthy people are blessed with the gift of intuition with the endowment of intuitive abilities more common for balanced and sociable individuals. But depressed and aggressive people lack social as well as other kinds of sensitivity.
There is also a difference in the propensity to intuitive knowledge between men and women: an American psychologist Judith Hall analyzed 125 studies and concluded that women are superior to men in decoding nonverbal emotional messages. When female subjects were shown a two-minute silent movie with upset women, the women in the study made more accurate guesses whether the woman in the movie was criticizing someone or discussing her own divorce.
In other experiments, the sensitivity of women to non-verbal signals has allowed them to lead in detecting lies. Women also surpass men in recognizing whether a couple is actually loving and romantic, or pretends to be, and also in telling which of the two people in a photographic image is the boss, and who is a subordinate.
To understand someone in a second
The findings by American psychologists Nalini Ambadi and Robert Rosenthal deal with the impact of first impressions and the rapid spread of social intuition. “Thin slices” of someone’s behavior may become very useful in these studies. Ambad and Rosenthal had recorded on tape 13 graduate students at Harvard University giving lectures to undergraduates.
Then, the researchers looked at three “thin slices” of behavior for each lecturer (ten-second clips from the beginning, middle and end of each session), and evaluated their confidence, academic rigor, emotional warmth, and other qualities. These ratings of behavior based on 30 seconds of lecturing during the entire semester, were strikingly accurate in predicting what average rating the lecturer would receive from students at the end of the semester.
In various experiments, “thin slices” have been studied with the help of video clips (with or without sound recording) as well as observations through a window with a one-way visibility. Just by listening to the participants reciting the alphabet out loud, the observers were able to make a fairly accurate intuitive guess about their social status and personality.
After watching for 90 seconds the way people walk and talk, observers could evaluate how others will be regarding these individuals. It was also found that even just by looking at someone’s picture, we can make some conclusions about the personal characteristics of this individual.
One of the most important benefits of social intuition is the ability to subconsciously pick up insincerity and dishonesty. Important observational data transform into intuitive experience, which is then analyzed for each situation. If you lie, for example, you become tense, and the facial expressions do not match the content of your statements as well as the statements by other individuals participating in the conversation. While our minds analyzes what is being said, the subconscious mind absorbs what is being seen, indicating non-compliance, which can even be dangerous (therefore people with well-developed intuition quickly recognize scammers, individuals prone to sudden aggression in their personality and the like).
Psychologist Paul Ekman, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco and the author of the bestseller “Telling Lies”, and the leading world specialist in identifying liars, has conducted a series of tests about the extent of ability to recognize lies. He came to the conclusion that in 86% of cases of telling lies, the tone or the voice volume will change.
Ekman also found that among several groups of people who frequently test a lot of people on the matter of lying (students, mental health professionals, experts in lie detector, judges, police workers), only one group, the U.S. intelligence agents, can really identify the lies (64%). However, when trying to develop this skill, your ability to observe things and to listen to emotions (both your own and the person you are communicating with) before they are processed by intellect (to scan, as they say), you can avoid the risk of being deceived.
We all have another interesting feature: when we hear how one person tells bad or good things about another person, we attribute the same qualities to the person who is talking. During several experiments, psychologists Linda May, Donal Carlston and John Skowronski found that if someone spreads rumors about someone, listeners unconsciously associate the content of these rumors with the storyteller.
Call someone a fool or a jerk, and people may relate these qualities with you later. Describe someone as fine and compassionate person, and you will also acquire these qualities. Even those who “simply” bring bad news will be instinctively disliked, as well as strangers who talk unfavorably about someone they do not like.