The only real valuable thing is intuition.
The intuition is without a doubt, one of the most powerful engines of the human mind, mastering it however has been a fleeting experience for mankind. The psychology of intuition can tell us how exactly it works.
Psychologists and neuroscientists alike have been researching the phenomenon that is the intuition since 1921, when Carl Jung described the intuition in his psychological journal, “Psychological Types”. Jung proposed that the intuition is best described as perception via the unconscious.
Carl Jung believed that we humans can use what he called sense-perception, which is essentially the ability for your mind to bring forth ideas, images, and different outcomes all from your unconscious.
Intuition: the Power of Heightened Decision Making
Current research now lays out the foundation for us to understand that our intuition is actually much more than just a bridge to our unconscious. In fact, experimental psychologist Dr. Gary Klein went on to find that our intuition is actually something else entirely.
Dr. Gary Klein designed a model called the Recognition Primed Decision (RPD) which goes on to explain how our brains can make incredibly fast decisions without going through the process of comparing and contrasting options. The entire thought process is actually quite fast and we, as a result, can form fast opinions and decisions on the spot.
Dr. Gary Klein’s findings went even further into how exactly our brains utilize our intuition in making decisions. Dr. Gary Klein discovered that when placed in a situation where there is a time limit, heavy pressure, and a changing environment — our brains use our bank of experience and collected knowledge to identify situations that you’ve faced before.
From that point, your brain then makes an informed and educated decision based on the wealth of experience you have within the problem field.
The intuitive ability being the pattern identifying and matching process that tells your brains which options or routes you can select from.
The analysis part of your thinking is choosing which of the several options presented by your intuitive process, is the best and most likely to yield a positive outcome.
Intuition: the Librarian of Our Minds’ Information
Dr. Gerard Hodgkinson of the Centre for Organizational Strategy at Leeds University expanded on the research that had already been done by others previous to him on the psychology of intuition. His new research suggested that our intuition is actually our brain quickly retrieving past experiences and external cues in order to make an accurate decision on an unconscious platform.
In order to better illustrate the phenomenon of intuition in psychology, Dr. Gerard Hodgkinson describes a story involving a Formula One driver. In the situation, the driver was at turning the corner when his muscles, instinctively braked (Formula One drivers don’t typically brake at curves), but this time, he did.
And just as he braked, an onslaught of cars crashed into each other just farther up ahead. And till this day, the Formula One driver can’t explain why he had an urge to break before it all happened, before any sign of danger.
Dr. Gerard Hodgkinson goes on to say about the Formula One driver,
“The driver underwent forensic analysis by psychologists afterwards, where he was shown a video to mentally relive the event. In hindsight, he realized 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.”
Dr. Gerard Hodgkinson’s research was published in the most recent issue of The British Journal of Psychology, where he concluded that our intuition and intuitive experiences derive from a perfect analysis of both our internal and external cues.
Thus when we experience our intuition activating and working, it’s because both our eternal world and internal world are working perfectly in sync. Our brain is not only protecting us from danger but also calculating the absolute best path and decision to make.
Use the Psychology of Intuition Wisely
So the next time you find yourself in a crisis situation, where you don’t know what to do or what to think. Remember to be mindful of the psychology of intuition because more times than not, that gut feeling may just be the thing that saves your life.
I can only imagine the Formula One driver and how thankful he must be for our brain’s amazing capability of thinking and making decisions faster than we ever thought possible. And he’s not the only one that can harness this “supernatural” power — you too can as well, if only you listen for the whisper from your mind.
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