Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods on Intuition

Handbook of Research Methods on Intuition

Handbooks of Research Methods in Management series

Edited by Marta Sinclair

How does one go about studying intuition – a complex, cross-disciplinary field, which is still developing? How can intuition be captured in situ? How can a researcher harness their own intuition? This book uses method-related themes to help answer these questions and explore innovative developments in intuition research.

Chapter 4: Conceptualizing intuition as a mental faculty: toward a ‘critique of intuitive reason’ and a process model of intuition

Allard C.R. van Riel and Csilla Horváth

Subjects: business and management, organisational behaviour, research methods in business and management


In contrast with ‘metaphysical speculation,’ good science should not only provide a plausible explanation for observable phenomena but its theoretical explanations should also be empirically falsifiable and the tests should be ‘objectively’ replicable. Good science should allow us to make predictions and even risky predictions (i.e., predictions that put the theory to the test). Good science should also make progress, continue to deepen our understanding and increase the certainty we have regarding our explanations. It could be argued that the scientific study of intuition does not yet comply with a number of these requirements. It is our purpose in this chapter to help make the scientific study of intuition more scientific, i.e., to approach the above demarcation criteria. The demands on human cognition are rising because the complexity of problems and issues facing humanity are increasing and because decisions have increasingly further reaching consequences. Intuition is supposed to help decision makers address complex problems, especially in dynamic and turbulent environments, even when few facts are available. If this claim is correct, the question is raised as to how, to what extent and under which circumstances intuition can achieve this. To answer these questions, there is a need for a science of intuition because the claim is important and of great interest to humanity.

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