Edited by Marta Sinclair
Chapter 2: Types of Intuition: Inferential and Holistic
Jean E. Pretz For decades, psychologists have viewed intuition as primarily irrational and unreliable. Research in the heuristics and biases paradigm has consistently shown that intuitive judgments resulting from the use of heuristics (mental short cuts) are inaccurate and systematically biased (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). However, recent work challenges this pessimistic view, documenting conditions under which intuitions are not only accurate, but actually more reliable than judgments resulting from analysis (Dijksterhuis, 2004; Kahneman & Klein, 2009; Klein, 1998; McMackin & Slovic, 2000). In order to organize and interpret the contradictory evidence in the psychological literature, we must clarify what is meant by ‘intuition’ and examine the circumstances that affect its reliability and accuracy. In this chapter, I shall argue for a distinction between ‘inferential intuition’ and ‘holistic intuition’ and use this distinction to show that intuition is accurate for highly complex tasks and for individuals on either end of the novice/expert continuum. I define inferential intuition as judgments based on analytical processes that have become automatic through practice. In contrast, classical intuitions are holistic judgments that integrate complex information. This Gestalt perspective on intuition emphasizes that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Holistic intuition is qualitatively non-analytical (Betsch, 2008; Hill, 1987–88; Pretz & Totz, 2007). THEORETICAL VIEWS OF INTUITION Both types of intuition can be identified in historical work on the construct. Jung (1971) viewed intuition as a holistic mode of perception. Intuitive types prefer to engage in inward-focused, subconscious processing of information, whereas sensate types are focused outward...
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