Handbook of Research Methods on Intuition
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Handbook of Research Methods on Intuition

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.
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Chapter 5: Stress and the unconscious in intuitive judgement

Sharon L. Grant and Janice Langan-Fox


According to the literature, intuitive judgement is a fusion of affect and cognition that occurs rapidly, with cognitive certitude, accompanied by a somatic expression that could be experienced as a ‘gut feeling’ (Laughlin, 1997). Documented accounts testify to the strong physical sensation that reinforces an individual’s perception that his or her judgement is ‘correct’ (Bowers, 1987). It may be a calming sensation, a feeling of ‘completeness’ or of mind-body integration (Langan-Fox & Shirley, 2003). These fringe experiences are fleeting, come and go quickly, are context-sensitive and tell the person when something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (Mangan, 2000). The idea that psychological and physiological events are related is not new, and has a long history in the stress literature, wherein stress has been linked to quantifiable change in autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal. Consistent with others’ observations, in this chapter it is argued that stress and intuition are related events: Dane and Pratt (2007) argued that intuition is integral to the successful completion of complex or time-constrained tasks; Hogarth (2010) noted the growing appreciation of the emotional states associated with intuition in the judgement and decision-making (JDM) literature; and Langan-Fox and Vranic (2011) highlighted the role of intuition in life or death and emergency situations in the professions. In this chapter, we argue that stress and intuition are affectively and physiologically intertwined.

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