The word intuition is derived from the Latin intueor – to see; intuition is thus often invoked to explain how the mind can “see” answers to problems or decisions in the absence of explicit reasoning – a “gut reaction”.
Several recent popular psychology books – such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow and Jonah Lehrer’s The Decisive Moment – have emphasised this “power of intuition” and our ability to “think without thinking”, sometimes suggesting we should rely more heavily on intuition than deliberative (slow) or “rational” thought processes.
Such books also argue that most of the time we act intuitively – that is, without knowing why we do things we do.
But what is the evidence for these claims? And what is intuition anyway?