Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trust Your Gut…but Only Sometimes - Association for Psychological Science

Trust Your Gut…but Only Sometimes - Association for Psychological Science

This is a pretty interesting study about Intuition. For those of you who know me, know how much I enjoyed reading Malcolm Gladwell's BLINK and how it helped confirm my preferred method of making trusting my gut and intuition. So along comes this study how the physical aspects of your body influence your intuition.

From the article...

"Dunn and his co-authors found this link between gut feelings and intuitive decision making to be stronger in people who were more aware of their own heartbeat. So for some individuals being able to ‘listen to their heart’ helped them make wise choices, whereas for others it led to costly mistakes.

“What happens in our bodies really does appear to influence what goes in our minds. We should be careful about following these gut instincts, however, as sometimes they help and sometimes they hinder our decision making,” says Dunn."

Interesting. So, if you are attune to your body and its reactions, does this improve your intuition? I'm curious to find out. I remember as a young man, I took Karate lessons at a local dojo. As part of the initial effort, and perhaps one of the strongest "take aways" from that experience were the breathing techniques they taught. You can, by focusing on your breathing, slow your heart rate down significantly and if I'm ever nervous, I find myself continuing to use those techniques. Perhaps the whole movie-like scenario of the zen-master being acutely aware of his surroundings and being able to "sense the enemy" is related to being tuned into what your body is telling you.

I know this - my intuition has served me very well and is not wrong often. I've never understood why but perhaps with this initial study, some of the fog can be lifted. Gladwell wrote about a test, called the IAT which measures the amount of "unconscious prejudice" and that's a test I want to take! Why is it when I meet someone the first time, I can, invariably, have a "gut" feeling about that person within 3-5 minutes. I can usually determine if this is someone I like, will not like, is nice or an a-hole, etc. Some have criticized me for "not giving him/her a chance" because I "really can't know someone that quickly." Yet, in the end, I'm right about that person much more often than not. So, I've learned to trust that instinct, that "unconscious prejudice", the "gut", my intuition....whatever you want to call it.

If you haven't read BLINK, go read And let me know how your gut plays a role in your decisions! Are you more deliberate in evaluating facts/circumstances, etc.? Or are you one to make a decision based upon that "feel" and go from there?

Some excerpts from BLINK are available at A review of the book can be found at as well as


  1. Here is another great article about rapid cognition aka intuition.

  2. I like what your saying about getting "a feeling" or a sense about someone immediately. You know how women are supposed to be naturally great at intuition? It's weird, I think we are, but then many times don't use our noggin after that. What you're caling your "gut", I call an inner voice. Even those two terms have a male/female feel. I heard this once, "When someone shows you who they are , believe them the first time." It dosen't allow for a lot of room for second chances. Maybe that's bad, maybe it's good, not sure. Maybe people shouldn't be a-holes & then it would be a non-issue.:)