Home > Psychology essays > Instinct and intuition

Essay: Instinct and intuition

Essay details and download:

  • Subject area(s): Psychology essays
  • Reading time: 5 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 15 October 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 1,340 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 6 (approx)

Text preview of this essay:

This page of the essay has 1,340 words. Download the full version above.

The stories are definitely appealing. The man who had a great idea for an invention, presented it to someone, and later saw it mass produced. The woman who scored a random good feeling about a new industry, poured her life savings into it, and came out a millionaire. The man who had a voice in his head in the shower telling him to move to Europe, happened to meet the woman of his dreams, and won the British lottery. Unfortunately, for the majority, it’s not realistic. From the many possible conclusions that need to be considered and factors influencing them, to whether or not what one thinks is their instinct is actually so, actual intuition has a specific place apart from governing decisions. Using a “gut feeling” or “instinct” to make major life decisions is never reliable enough to get the most favorable outcome.

A leap of faith, luck, and butterflies in the stomach all have a good connotation; therefore everyone wants to believe in the transformative power of intuition and apply it to big events that make one excited or nervous. However, one’s excessive desire to trust intuition blinds them to the less romantic realities of influential decision making. The reality is there are many different factors that affect decisions and therefore must be considered. The business world is a great way to grasp the realities of what it takes to come to a viable verdict on something that heavily influences people’s lives. Specific technologies have been developed to ensure money-related decisions examine all possible conclusions and factors influencing them. As situations become more complex, the human brain alone becomes less reliable, so computers handle the situations instead. Billions of dollars and hours of experts’ time were dedicated to designing visualization software for these situations, and they are very widely used today. Some specific tools include open ended searches (when there are many potential solutions) and agent-based modeling (when the consequences being evaluated are complex) (Bonabeau 8). In agent-based simulations, a computer will create millions of individual actors making a specific decision or calculation. The result is an intricate and accurate model of the dynamics, and allows for the best decision to be found based on certain criteria. Southwest Airlines used agent-based modeling to redesign their strategies for cargo handling. They successfully gained $2 million in annual labor savings (Selbel and Thomas 31).The computer’s intricate, considerate decision-making strategy lead the company to the exact result they wanted. Further proving, that more consideration must go into a decision beyond a “gut instinct”.

The concept of “intuition” itself has even been recently examined. The definition of an instinct according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason.” The gut feeling people usually deem as an instinct is usually influenced by other factors. When one’s stomach feels odd, “most of the explanations are physiological or habitual, not instinctual” (Biali 2). A direct biological connection between the stomach and brain exists where the nerves in both constantly send signals to each other. This occurs in a way that most people would not invision. The enteric nervous system is located in the gastrointestinal system (from the esophagus to the anus) and it constantly send messages to the brain about hunger, anxiety, and even stress. “Operations of the enteric nervous system are overseen by the brain and central nervous system” (Sonnenburg 4) Usually, instead of the stomach getting a weird feeling and sending a message to the brain to sway a choice a certain way, the senses send messages to the brain and the brain processes this information. Nerves in the stomach react to this and often an individual will not recognize it is happening. An actual instinct, and one’s actual intuition, is what comes naturally. Not a thought and reaction in the stomach that came from other stimuli (whether the individual recognized it or not). The average human is not able to truly distinguish our pure instinct from a gut reaction, and, therefore, in major influential situations that “gut feeling” is unreliable.

When options are available, no doubt everyone would want to have the best outcome possible. From deciding where to eat out in a new city, or whether to go back to school or stay at a dead-end job, proper ways are available to make sure an individual does not end up with food poisoning and depression. “1. Clearly assess exactly what the options are at the moment” (Degges-White 2). As previously mentioned, one must understand that there are many factors that can influence a decision, and a number of possible conclusions for that decision. Never discount anything. 2. “List the pros and cons of the options you are likely to take” (Degges-White 2). Stick with the concept of addressing all factors. These are important and neglected when the decision is made off a gut instinct. 3. “Make the choice that makes the most sense at the moment” (Degges-White 2). Given all factors and options have been examined, and pros and cons have been found for all, select the conclusion with the highest pro to con ratio. 4. “Accept that the best possible decision has been made for the moment” (Degges-White 2). If the wrong decision was made, use it as an opportunity to learn and make the right decision the next time.

Understanding why more must go into a paramount decision, acknowledging one might mistake their gut reactions as instinct, and recognizing the steps that should be taken, one must also recognize when one can actually heed their true intuition. If a person knows what they are reacting upon is their true instinct, they are reacting on one of man’s greatest evolutionary traits. It just needs to be put to its proper use. For example, “female ancestors needed to evaluate a situation quickly in order to tune in to their infant and their environment for protection and survival”, therefore their instincts are a little more highly developed (Olson 4). Females ability to read their environment aides in their ability to read people, also. When a stranger walks up to a woman and tries to convince her to hold her child she will probably get an untrustworthy feeling inside. Her true instinct is talking and she should listen to it and walk away. Instinct is most accurate in situations where one would not have time for other necessary thought. Other examples include whether or not to step on a unstable-looking walking bridge and whether or not to dodge something flying towards one’s head – the kinds of decisions humans have been making for thousands of years. In simple, day-to-day situations where a conclusion has to be made quickly, one will be presented with an instinctual feeling they can be confident in listening to.

That last sentence might just be the most important part. Each person on a day-to-day basis is left to make decisions, big and small, with potential consequences. Instinct and intuition has its place in those that are small, however the final conclusion of an influential decision should not be decided by heeding the rumble of one’s gut. On November 2, 2017, Carter Page, one of Donald Trump’s campaign advisors, privately testified he had told Jeff Sessions about former trips to Russia (Raju and Herb 2). With recent controversy, the decision to do so was instrumental. Page had many choices from which to chose: a range from not saying anything about his words to Sessions to lying or only giving part of the truth. He had to consider how his support would change, reputation would change, the effect it would have on others, etc. He also understood that the feeling of his stomach turning over was just the stress talking. Listening only to a gut feeling when making a significant decision is not going to result in the best outcome. Listen to the stories of the ones who thought and worked to get the success they have, not that of those who acted on a hunch and got lucky.

...(download the rest of the essay above)

About this essay:

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay Sauce, Instinct and intuition. Available from:<https://www.essaysauce.com/psychology-essays/2017-11-7-1510089580/> [Accessed 13-07-24].

These Psychology essays have been submitted to us by students in order to help you with your studies.

* This essay may have been previously published on Essay.uk.com at an earlier date.