Edited by Marta Sinclair
Chapter 6: Expert Intuition and Naturalistic Decision Making
Gary Klein The topic of intuition is strongly connected to the naturalistic decision making (NDM) framework, which is why the following chapter is included in the current volume. The NDM framework has emphasized the way people build expertise and apply it to cognitive functions such as judgment and decision making. Expertise depends on different forms of knowledge. Explicit knowledge (knowledge of facts and rules) is the easiest form to describe, teach and track, but is less important than tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge includes perceptual abilities, pattern recognition, judgments of typicality, and mental models. When skilled decision makers use their tacit knowledge they usually cannot articulate the basis of their judgments and decisions. Tacit knowledge is, by definition, difficult if not impossible to articulate. Therefore, we experience the use of tacit knowledge as intuition. We notice something jarring, or recognize a pattern, and we do not know where these judgments come from so they seem mysterious, as opposed to a logical conclusion based on a deliberated line of reasoning. Klein (2009) uses the example of making a turn against oncoming traffic. There are no rules for judging when to make the turn; with experience we have learned to recognize safe versus unsafe conditions. And this is a difficult judgment. People occasionally get it wrong, as we see when we maneuver around the damaged cars. Thus, every day we make life-and-death decisions using our intuition. Intuition, in the form of tacit knowledge, is essential to expertise, and is central to the kinds...
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