What is your “Sixth Sense?” Is it something we all have and can trust?

Intuition  How many of you out there have ever been so trusting as to believe any and everything someone tells you? How many of you have had a sixth sense about something someone told you and took the time to do your homework by checking things out, only to find that your gut call was right? Is this the feeling we get when we know that what someone is telling us is untrue?

What is a sixth sense? Does every human being have one? Wikipedia refers to a sixth sense as ESP and defines it as “reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind.” In more casual terms, its referred to as a “gut reaction” or “intuition”.  American Society of Psychology’s powerpoint by Brandon 604 ppt, description: “Intuition is also associated with increased alertness or vigilance, Increased level of motivation, Better social skills, More common sense, Greater Awareness of situation, Being more assertive, Having greater Empathy, Being more focused as well as having integrity/character.” Meyers, D’G’s 2002 article “Intuition:Its Powers & Perils,”New Haven, Yale Univ Press; describes intuition as immediate insight, social intuition, unconscious learning, complex pattern recognition and /or perception like rapid, effortless cognition leading to action.

The American Society of Psychology site states that 20% of people have it, it has tendency to get better with experience yet some people never have it and remain clueless even after years of exposure at their jobs and/or from their surroundings.Meyers, D.G.’s 2002 article “Intuition:Its Powers & Perils,” New Haven, Yale Univ. Press, stated that intuition is pretty equal between men and women, in good as well as bad people and in rookies as well as experienced. He goes on to say that it either occurs seldomly or repeatedly; sometimes instantaneous vs slow realization. It can occur when alone or with a partner, occurs in situations of increased or decreased risk, with increase/decrease in emotions and in constant or changing environments at work and/or at all times.

Mark Greer, Monitor Staff at American Society of Psychology, March 2005 Vol. 36, No 3 “What are Causes and Consequences of its Faults?” He states that “intuition helps us understand the world-except when its wrong. Mr. Greer noted that intuition, despite its flaws, is integral to our thinking; some saying it helps us connect events to understand our chaotic worlds while other suggest its necessary because we must have some immediate perception of events.”

Gilovich, author of “How We Know What Isn’t So (Simon & Schuster 1993) stated that “we’re too eager to find connections so as to create them when none exists and this thinking can cause problems from miscalculation. He notes that some people overestimate their intuition and prevent sound decision-making.  He states he feels it is a tough bias to overcome. Mr. Gilovich also stated that intuition and logical decision-making demonstrate a dual mind process; suggesting there are 2 minds pulling–1 deliberate (draws from logic/deduction) and 1 intuitive (rooted perception, experience, imbued with emotion and interest in here and there situations).

Mr. Gilovich stated that intuition’s “advantage was its quick, survival based decisions, such as sensing a threat from a stranger on a dark street; operates on a gut level, therefore its judgment is compelling.” He also went on to state that when people get into trouble, intuition leads us astray secondary to not being very good at picking up flaws in evidence.” “Intuition discriminates against less dramatic and newsworthy events and those that are unrelated to each other; noting coincidence but failing to notice when no coincidence occurs.

Kenneth Savitsky PhD, Psychology prof. @ Williams College, states that “intuition is double biased. He went on to state that we think we can intuit others by thinking that people notice, judge appearances/behaviors and emotions more than they actually do. This bias in itself causes common problems in relationships ie. a spouse expecting the other spouse to understand subtle voice inflections more than a stranger.”

After researching this blog, I don’t know if I would personally place a lot of weight on a person’s intuition alone, yet if in an emergent situation, I might choose my intuition over logic. Since it was noted that intuition does get better with practice, maybe it just takes time to trust that inner sense. I have a tendency to agree that we should all practice by listening to both our deliberate and intuitive minds when making decisions, as well as take note as to how things turn out, which in due time, should help us to be better decision makers.





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