Intuition, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development is less about suddenly “knowing” the right answer and more about instinctively understanding what information is unimportant and can thus be discarded.
Gigerenzer, author of the book Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, says that he is both intuitive and rational. “In my scientific work, I have hunches. I can’t explain always why I think a certain path is the right way, but I need to trust it and go ahead. I also have the ability to check these hunches and find out what they are about. That’s the science part. Now, in private life, I rely on instinct. For instance, when I first met my wife, I didn’t do computations. Nor did she.”
I’m telling you this because recently one of my readers, Joy Boleda, posed a question that stopped me in my tracks:
What about intuition? It has never been titled as a form of intelligence, but would you think that someone who has great intuition in things, has more intelligence?
My “gut instinct” is to say yes, especially when we are talking about people who are already intellectually curious, rigorous in their pursuit of knowledge, and willing to challenge their own assumptions.
Let me put this a bit simpler. If all you do is sit in a chair and trust your intuition, you are not exercising much intelligence. But if you take a deep dive into a subject and study numerous possibilities, you are exercising intelligence when your gut instinct tells you what is – and isn’t – important.
In some respects, intuition could be thought of as a clear understanding of collective intelligence. For example, most web sites are today organized in an intuitive way, which means they are easy for most people to understand and navigate. This approach evolved after many years of chaos online, as a common wisdom emerged over what information was superfluous and what was essential (i.e. About Us = essential).
Theo Humphries argues that intuitive design can be described as “understandable without the use of instructions”. This is true when an object makes sense to most people because they share a common understanding of the way things work.