As we saw with an earlier post, intuition arrives first when we make decisions. But, how does this happen? How does intuition become involved in our response to an event?
Consider for a moment a restaurant’s ambiance. Objectively, it has nothing to do with the food; however, if it’s unclean, disorderly and ugly we will tend to feel there is also something wrong with the food. Why do children ask their moms and dads, “Are you in a good mood?” They know their parents’ emotional state will affect their decision-making.
Figure 1 illustrates what’s happening. For any event, there are conscious (solid lines) and unconscious aspects (transparent lines). Our cognition cannot capture consciously all an event has to offer. Analogously, ponder light: some of it we can see some we can’t (such as heat, infrared, ultraviolet and radiation). Still, even if we can’t see unseen light, it affects us. The same holds true for events. Even if we can’t consciously grasp the unconscious aspects; they slip through our conscious defenses and affect us.
Figure 2 demonstrates how this happens. The unconscious aspects impact our emotions which triggers our intuition. Our intuition produces more complex emotions that impact our cognition, our thinking processes. These emotions will select the rationale that best express our wants, desires and needs. These are a function of our personalities and give insights into who we are (red lines).
Returning to our restaurant analogy, the negative feelings produced by the ugly ambiance trigger negative emotions. These in turn encourage us to select a rationale that might have us translate the ugliness into unsanitary. Therefore, we’ll rationalize that the food is unsafe and not good. Conversely, if the ambiance produces good feelings, we will tend to like the food more.