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Is it rational to trust your gut feelings? A neuroscientist explains

Intuition as a tool

Emotions and intuition are not fallible tools that always need to be ignored or even corrected by rational faculties,.

Intuition is the result of a lot of processing that happens in the brain but has not yet reached your conscious awareness. 

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Is it rational to trust your gut feelings? A neuroscientist explains

Is it rational to trust your gut feelings? A neuroscientist explains

http://theconversation.com/is-it-rational-to-trust-your-gut-feelings-a-neuroscientist-explains-95086

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

Intuition as a tool

Emotions and intuition are not fallible tools that always need to be ignored or even corrected by rational faculties,.

Intuition is the result of a lot of processing that happens in the brain but has not yet reached your conscious awareness. 

Predictive processing framework

Research suggests that the brain is a large predictive machine, constantly comparing incoming sensory information and current experiences against stored knowledge and memories of previous experiences, and predicting what will come next. This is described in what scientists call the “predictive processing framework”.

This ensures that the brain is always as prepared to deal with the current situation as optimally as possible.

The two thinking styles

Intuitive thinking is described as automatic, fast, and subconscious. Analytic thinking, on the other hand, is slow, logical, conscious and deliberate. Analytic and intuitive thinking are not opposites. They are complementary and can work in concert.

Even groundbreaking scientific research may start with intuitive knowledge that enables scientists to formulate innovative ideas and hypotheses, which later can be validated through rigorous testing and analysis.

Intuition and biases

Because intuition relies on automatic and fast processing, it also falls prey to misguidances, such as cognitive biases. Despite this, familiarizing yourself with common cognitive biases can help you spot them in future occasions.

For every situation that involves a decision based on your assessment, consider whether your intuition has correctly assessed the situation.

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Business leaders often make important decisions that defy any logical analysis. This process may be termed as a gut instinct, a hunch, or an inner voice.

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Patterns In Randomness

Our gut instinct or intuition can come in many forms, like detecting patterns in places where other people only see randomness or having a sudden flash of brilliance which goes against the grain but feels right.

Gathering enough data to make a rational decision also takes up a lot of time, and in today's fast-paced world, by the time one procures all data, the decision becomes antiquated.

Subconscious And Conscious Brain

Our subconsious mind continuously processes information, even when we sleep, which our conscious mind finally learns or infers, lighting a bulb inside us.

We know the gut feeling is true because our 'right brain'(intuition and emotion-based) already knew the revelation that our left brain (logic and consciousness-based) now has come to know.

3 more ideas

Decision-making rules

Write a clear, objective set of rules to guide future decisions.

It will enable you to make a decision that is detached from the emotion of the moment.

Don't decide alone

Never make an onerous decision by yourself. Tap into the wisdom of the company's internal crowd.

The 'revolving door' approach

... is a technique that relies on using an outside perspective. 

If you're stuck in a big decision, you have to pretend you're a new CEO or a turnaround manager who can "see things more clearly." Adopting a third-person perspective helps you tap into an objective mode of judgment--one based on facts and an understanding of the consequences.

System 1 Thinking

The main function of System 1 is to maintain and update a model of your personal world, which represents what is normal in it.

Consider driving your car from home to work on a...

System 2 Thinking

System 2 thinking informs how you focus on a particular task by using expert knowledge and focusing or applying conscious effort.

Consider driving to work and encountering an accident. This unexpected change demands you pay attention to your environment and monitor your behavior.

How to Use System 1 and System 2 Thinking Together

If you feel a gut reaction after meeting a hire, it's probably System 1 thinking.

But you can mitigate the risk of hiring the wrong person by engaging System 2 thinking. Check their references. Ask probing questions. Validate your gut reaction with other members of your team.

The trick is to be aware of switching from one system to the other. It’s useful to understand when you are thinking on autopilot, when you are paying attention and what's inside your mental toolbox.