FunIs intuition effective?

Is intuition effective?

On a board of nine rows by nine columns, Black wins over White and the white king is about to be captured. It is a game of shogi, a Japanese strategy game, from the chess family, which the neuroscientist Keiji Tanaka knows well. Not only because he knows how to play, but because he has spent years studying the brains of other players to try to understand why and how we choose a strategy in complicated situations that need a quick solution . On the board but also in everyday life. And it seems that it has hit the nail on the head. Thanks to shogi, Tanaka has been able to know that intuition resides in the caudad nucleus of the brain. It is a structure that is part of the basal ganglion, a fairly primitive brain region responsible for learning and habits . It allows us to respond to a problem or make decisions without involving conscious thought. Or what is the same, use a kind of automatic and fast intelligence in those areas where we have a lot of experience . So fast that, according to MRI images, intuitive decisions are made seven seconds before we become conscious and execute . Although all of this apparently happens without effort, the reality is that there are many complex cognitive structures and neurons involved in this kind of thinking. Mind you, they work at an unconscious level. And that’s why we have the feeling that our hunches come out of nowhere.

And contrary to what is sometimes thought, intuition is not the opposite of rational intelligence . Currently, it is accepted that there are two cognitive systems in the brain. One is guided, controlled, regulated, needs reason to intervene and requires mental effort. The other is based on perception, intuition, and emotions, and occurs at the unconscious level. The first is slow, the second is fast. And both can lead us to intelligent conclusions.

According to Tanaka, “true intuition is only found in experts. When a problem is complex, the intuitive answer simplifies it and contributes to both the eureka moments and what we call inspiration . ” Likewise, intuition is also linked to the sense of ethics. According to recent research, intuitive decision makers lie and cheat less than more rational individuals . That is, they are more honest.

In fact, we make better decisions using intuition rather than logic, says Marius Usher of Tel Aviv University (Israel). In his experiments he has detected that the so-called sixth sense is correct 90% of the time . Without thinking? No, because when intuition kicks in, we don’t ignore the pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses of the different options. Rather, we weigh them on an instinctive and unconscious scale, rather than rational and conscious.

Along the same lines, J. David Creswell, from Carnegie Mellon University (USA), has found that when we keep the rational brain busy memorizing data while being asked to make a decision, the choices are more lucid that if we put all the attention in choosing. Given the evidence, Creswell and other experts recommend that, before settling an important issue, we entertain the conscious mind a little in another task – watching a movie or reading a book, for example – while we let the subconscious spin.

On the other hand, Michael Pratt agrees with the efficacy of intuitive thinking, albeit with nuances. This professor at Boston College (USA) has come to the conclusion that when we make a general evaluation in an area of which we have a deep knowledge, letting ourselves be carried away by hunches is more effective than analyzing . However, it is not advisable when you have to focus on the details. “Intuition is like nitroglycerin – it’s good only if it’s used in certain circumstances,” says Pratt. Analytical decisions are slower but more successful when a question has to be divided into several parts, such as when solving a mathematical problem. Intuition is good at finding patterns quickly and offering overviews. And it works, for example, when a firefighter gets carried away by his nose to make decisions in the middle of a fire.

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