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Wild Guesses May Not Be That Wild


If we don’t have facts to go on, we can still guess. We call them wild guesses, but they’re based on something. Sometimes, we call our guesses “educated,” meaning we have some information or knowledge with which to narrow down our guess, or perhaps rule out one or two options. And that type of reasoning is usually conscious and analytical. On the other hand, at times we will rely on what we call gut instinct or intuition. We all know it exists, even researchers, but only recently has a group of scientists come up with a way to measure it. That measurement involved showing study participants subliminal images and seeing to what degree that nature of the image (positive or negative) correlated with the accuracy and self-reported confidence of a guess. And it turned out that positive feelings, enabling participants to confidently rely on intuition, enabled them to make better guesses.

What we’re really being guided by, when we use intuition is “nonconscious emotional information,” and perhaps most fascinating, we can get better at using it. The researchers speculate that someday, intuition training may help us tap into all of that nonconscious information in our minds.

Read about the Research



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