The Science Behind Intuition
Why you should trust your gut.
Posted May 20, 2014
Almost every Radical Remission cancer survivor I’ve studied used their intuition to help make decisions related to their healing process. Research on intuition and following your ‘gut’ instinct may explain why.
But why, exactly, should we trust our gut instinct? One reason would be because researchers have found that System 1 often knows the right answer long before System 2 does. For example, in one study, researchers asked their subjects to play a card game where the goal was to win the most money. What the subjects did not realize, however, is that the game was rigged from the start. There were two stacks of cards to choose from; one was rigged to provide big wins followed by big losses, while the other deck was set up to provide small gains but almost no losses.
A similar study looked at people’s ability to predict whether a picture was behind Curtain #1 or Curtain #2; however, this was done on a computer, so there were no actual curtains involved. Just like with the card study, the researchers also measured the subjects’ subtle physiological responses. Remarkably, they found that the subjects’ bodies were able to predict the correct curtain 2-3 seconds before the computer had even decided which curtain to use.
Finally, other studies have found that, when it comes to making major life decisions, such as which house to buy or which person to marry, trusting your intuition leads to better outcomes than trusting your logical, thinking brain. In one such study, car buyers who had plenty of time to pour over all of the information about their various car choices were later found to be satisfied with their purchase only 25% of the time. Meanwhile, those buyers who made a quick, intuitive decision about their car purchase were found to be satisfied with their purchase 60% of the time.
Note: This post was based on an excerpt from the New York Times Bestselling book, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds.
Dr. Kelly Turner is the New York Times bestselling author of “Radical Remission,” as well as a researcher and lecturer in the field of Integrative Oncology. Her specialized research focus is on radical remission of cancer, which is when someone heals from cancer against all odds. Dr. Turner holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. You can learn more at Dr.KellyTurner.com and also RadicalRemission.com.
©Kelly A. Turner 2014