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 9: Investigating intuition under the perspective of expertise: experiences from two experimental studies

Christian Harteis


Intuition has become a popular topic in scientific literature of various disciplines: business management, education, psychology, neurosciences (Sinclair, 2011). There seems to be no doubt that intuition, describing mental process beyond rational and explicit phenomena, plays an important role in human behavior and decision making. However, various approaches exist trying to describe and understand what exactly intuition is and how it can be grasped empirically. In the area of business management, those approaches appear to widely follow a person’s general preference for either intuitive or deliberate decision making. Empirical studies apply standardized questionnaires (e.g., Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Cognitive Style Index (CSI)) and combine personal preferences with dependent variables of interest, for example, creativity, business performance (e.g., Sadler-Smith, 2008). Psychological studies on intuition investigate the application of fast and frugal heuristics or they focus on unconscious perception (e.g., Plessner et al., 2008). There is evidence of frugality of heuristics as well as of biases – depending on which kind of heuristics is the object of investigation (e.g., Gigerenzer, 2007). Further, studies reveal, on the one hand, astonishing capabilities to process information without being aware of the input. On the other hand, researchers can show that deliberate reflection of alternatives does not improve satisfaction with a decision (e.g., Dijksterhuis, 2004). In neurosciences, technological and scientific development is just at the beginning stage of investigating intuition.

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