Don’t dis­count your gut feel­ings just be­cause they can’t be sub­stan­ti­ated. Sci­ence is now be­gin­ning to prove that there may be a lot more to our sixth sense. By Car­rol Baker

Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - LIFESTYLE -

If you had a strange feel­ing that you shouldn’t take the bus to work, would you? What if a new ac­quain­tance puts you on edge, but you can’t work out why? Call it a gut feel­ing, hunch or a random guess, most peo­ple have ex­pe­ri­enced nig­gling feel­ings they can’t ex­plain. Is it just a lucky pre­dic­tion, in­tu­ition or can we har­ness the power of a sixth sense?

Ac­cord­ing to in­stinct re­searcher Dr Marta Sin­clair from Grif­fith Univer­sity, most peo­ple are nat­u­rally in­tu­itive. “They re­ceive mes­sages through dif­fer­ent chan­nels. Some hear a voice, feel a strange phys­i­cal sen­sa­tion or have a funny taste in their mouth,” she says.

Once mocked as new-age bab­ble by much of the sci­en­tific fra­ter­nity, more and more peo­ple now be­lieve in­tu­itive mes­sages can in fact guide the heart, mind and body. And the re­search to sup­port this be­lief is grow­ing.

Ex­per­i­ments at the In­sti­tute of HeartMath in the US have shown in­tu­ition to be a quan­tifi­able phe­nom­e­non. When par­tic­i­pants in a study were shown calm­ing im­ages, in­ter­spersed ran­domly with vi­o­lent or sex­ual ones, their phys­i­o­log­i­cal in­di­ca­tors reg­is­tered up­set­ting emo­tional re­sponses five to seven sec­onds be­fore the dis­tress­ing im­ages ac­tu­ally ap­peared.

In­tu­ition may also be what sep­a­rates the suc­cess­ful busi­ness per­son from the pack. Pro­fes­sor Ger­ard Hodgkin­son, from Leeds Univer­sity Busi­ness School in the UK, de­scribes in­tu­ition as the brain pro­cess­ing pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences and other cues to help it make a de­ci­sion, a process which takes place at a sub­con­scious level.

He be­lieves in­tu­itive in­sight can work ef­fec­tively along­side other de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses. “Hu­mans clearly need both con­scious and non-con­scious thought pro­cesses, but it’s likely that nei­ther is in­trin­si­cally bet­ter than the other,” he says.


In­tu­ition can also aid ra­tio­nal or an­a­lyt­i­cal prob­lem solv­ing. Pro­fes­sor Mar­ius Usher from Tel Aviv Univer­sity in Is­rael con­ducted ex­per­i­ments in­volv­ing par­tic­i­pants be­ing shown pairs of num­bers in quick suc­ces­sion.

They then had to se­lect which of the two groups of num­bers had the high­est av­er­age. Two to four pairs were shown ev­ery sec­ond, so sub­jects had to rely on in­tu­itive arith­metic. The more num­bers they were shown, the bet­ter they be­came at pre­dict­ing the av­er­ages. In fact, sub­jects scored ac­cu­racy rates of 90 per cent when shown 24 pairs of num­bers.

The no­tion of in­tu­ition to prob­lem solve might seem a lit­tle ab­stract, but other cul­tures have been do­ing things this way for cen­turies. In Africa, chil­dren tend­ing herds of cows count live­stock sim­ply by look­ing at them, Sin­clair says.

“They aren’t taught to count in the tra­di­tional West­ern sense; they look at the herd to in­tu­itively es­ti­mate a sense of the whole,” she says. “In­tu­ition then be­comes a dif­fer­ent way of see­ing things.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.