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

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.

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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. 

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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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.

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What Self-Reflection Is

Is the process of thinking back on previous events and interpreting them through your experience. 

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The Importance of Self-Reflection
  • It improve self-awareness.
  • It allows you to understand and see things from a different point of view. 
  • It allows you to respond, not react.
  • It facilitates a deeper level of learning.
  • It improves confidence.
  • It makes you challenge your assumptions.
The Process of Self-Reflection
  • STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.
  • LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.
  • LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.
  • ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.

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2,000 decisions per waking hour

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Decision fatigue

Our ability to perform mental tasks and make decisions wears thin when it’s repeatedly used.

Identify the most important decisions you need to make, and, as often as possible, prioritize your time so that you make them when your energy levels are highest.

A steady state of distraction

Our brains process five times as much information today as in 1986. Thus, many of us live in a continuous state of distraction and struggle to focus. 

To counter this, find time each day to unplug and step back from email, social media and news.

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