It has happened to all of us when we did something against our weird hunch and ended up regretting it. Well, that hunch is called intuition. People also call it the gut feeling. Intuition or gut feeling, whatever you may call it, is an unusual gift that humans have been given either by nature or evolution. Modern day humans prefer rationality over intuition. We are being taught over and over again to believe in what we know over what we feel. Although, it might be useful in some scenarios, it can also prove us wrong a lot of times.
Intuition is an inexplicable instinct that humans are born with. People often don’t trust their intuition as they don’t know the origin of that feeling. And since people can’t explain this feeling with logic, they choose not to believe in it. But the question still remains unanswered. Are we doing the right thing by ignoring our intuitions?
Albert Einstein famously said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”. So, it’s time that we look into this gift and see what it can give us.
The Origin Of Intuition
Intuition is not a fleeting feeling or a sensation in the gut. It is a complete thought generated by an evolved part of our brains. It is a result of all the activities that take place in the right hemisphere of our brains. This area is where all our creative thoughts come from. This is the area that holds the key to all our creative talents and the ability to appreciate art and music. This hemisphere is also responsible for our feelings and senses.
Cerebellum is the last part of our brains to have evolved. This part of the brain perfected itself around 200 million years ago. And this very part is what governs the creative juices of our brains. Our cognitive processes and logical thinking come from the cerebellum. And interestingly, this part is also what governs all our intuitive thoughts. And this is not a random claim, but rather this is what scientists have suggested after conducting studies.
Another more specific part of the brain that definitely plays a big role in our intuitions is the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This part is responsible for storing memories of past rewards and also punishments. According to a research conducted by the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio at the University of Iowa, this part plays a big role in eliciting intuition in humans. The research focused on the difference in the way normal people think and react in comparison to those who have damaged ventromedial prefrontal cortex. The emotional responses that are often deemed as gut feelings were significantly different for these two groups of people.
The Cognitive Shortcut
People still have trouble believing their intuitions as they think it might be a practical prank being played by their brains. But psychologists have been looking into this from a long time now. And psychologists believe that intuitions is quick cognition of our brains. In troublesome situations, our brains fasten its reasoning processes by finding shortcuts in our brains and provide us with solutions that seem like the best option at that point of time.
But it is important to understand that our intuitive powers are domain-specific. One person cannot have great intuitive powers in all arenas of his or her life. It develops over time with practice. Over time our brains can recognize patterns and can come to quick conclusion.
Can Intuition Yield Good Results?
The author of the book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book that intuition can be a helpful tool in various scenarios. He believes that intuition can be reliable when an intuition is about the field of one’s expertise. Intuition can be a good thing to fall back on when you take suggestions from someone and your intuition tells you to believe otherwise. In that case, you can seek help from a more qualified individual to take a more informed decision.
Intuition is a neglected gift that we all possess and it is about time we start using it.