Can decision makers improve their intuition?

by Daniel J. Power
Editor, DSSResources.COM

Possibly. First, one must recognize when intuition is dominating the facts or supporting them in a decision situation. Awareness is important. Next elicit feedback from others about your intuitions and the impact on choice. Keep track of how you are doing. Keep a brief decision log. Capture and validate your intuitions. Ask what is my batting average. Draw pictures, see the situation evolving, develop scenarios. Have someone play the Devilís advocate.

Gather evidence about a situation. Determine if you are an expert. Expert should use their intuition to verify evidence based decisions. Keep an open mind and accept that your organization is changing and evolving. New ideas should be encouraged.

Pretz and Totz (2007) proposed that there are three different aspects or types of intuition: affective, inferential, and holistic. Affective intuitions are responses made utilizing emotions. The basis of these emotions is difficult to explain. Inferential intuition, however, is an automatized, analytical process. The analytical process is quickened due to experience, and the steps no longer require concentration. Finally, holistic intuition does not use analytical processes, but rather people integrate information "from the whole rather than the parts" (Hill, 1987, p. 138). Holistic intuition occurs when the unconscious unknowingly integrates information into a global assessment to provide an answer.


Carlson, L. A., "Validation of a Measure of Affective, Inferential, and Holistic Intuition," at URL

Hill, D.W. Jr. (1987). Intuition: Inferential heuristic or epistemic mode? Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 7(2), 137-153.

Pretz, J.E., & Totz, K.S. (2007). Measuring individual differences in affective, heuristic, and holistic intuition. Personality and Individual Differences, 43(5), 1247-1257.

Last update: 2018-04-22 06:26
Author: Daniel Power

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