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11 Jul 2013

Emotions vs Intuition (Pt 2): Operational Difference

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Feelings, Emotions, Intuition - Difference

BreadEmotions drive our energies in a particular direction. Intuition interprets that direction similar to the way thinking interprets facts. Unlike emotions, intuition doesn’t serve an evaluative function but rather a problem-solving one.

Since intuition operates at the vanguard of the decision-making process, it’s creative by nature. It initializes the crystallization of who, what, when, where and how of our problem. Gradually, cognition takes over fine tuning specifics; intuition is the compass, cognition the map. As with creativity, intuition speaks best when we’re relaxed and alone, when cognitive functions are less structured. This also safeguards against impulsively reacting to our instincts.

We can more clearly see the operational differences between emotions and intuition by examining negative emotions. While we tend to ignore these, we cannot ignore negative emotions anymore than we can negative information. They can serve as warnings of who to avoid, what not to use, where not to go, when not to show up and how not to do something.

More than likely though, our intuition will tell us that one or more of these are not possible so we need other options. It will start surfacing other emotions indicating who to see, what to use, where to go, when to arrive and how to do something. In many ways, intuition writes the outline of a story to solve a specific problem. It’s why reading stories can improve our problem-solving skills.

In short, intuition makes constructive use of our negative emotions in very much the same way planning does with negative information, an important operational distinction. While emotions might be able to tell us what’s good and bad, intuition is about solving the challenges these create. To conclude, operationally, intuition serves a problem-solving function while emotions serve as inputs to that function. They are the aspects of an inspiration.



Series Navigation<< Emotions vs Intuition (Pt 1): Conceptual DifferenceEmotions vs Intuition (Pt 3): Examples of Differences >>

2 Responses

  1. I suppose that intuition, as compass poses the question. Cognition grabs the feeling-cum emotion-cum-intuition and says “Why do I have this impression? What evidence would explain that hesitance or excitement I feel?”

    then cognition works overtime to try to find a reason.

    Of course there is the trap that we may just find any old excuse to do what we wanted to do anywhere (previously mentioned rationale).

    But it seems that noticing intuition, and examining it BEFORE taking an action (making a decision), is a super worthwhile thing to do.

    1. Mike Lehr

      Rather than say cognition grabs the feeling or emotion, let’s look at as the feeling and emotion are compelling us to think a certain way. Cognition works for our emotions, not the other way around. Either way, your question “Why do I have this impression?” remains important. By exploring that it will likely trigger other feelings and emotions that could help you understand why you have the impression you do. Instead of using the word evidence, which tends to mean you need to justify something, I would use the word “observations.” Also, we need to realize that perhaps the answer is much simpler, “I have that impression because that’s the way I am!”

      Yes, cognition works overtime to find a reason, any reason. This post explains that in more detail, “Shopping for Rationales: Justifying What We Want” (http://blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=273). You’re right that is a trap. It’s a trap because we’re rationalizing who we are. Again, we make many decisions simply because that’s just the way we are.

      You’re also right to feel that we need to examine this before taking action. Some call this introspection, but that’s a frightening term to some. It’s also important to have time alone (http://blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=4163) and run through various scenarios in a relaxed state (http://blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=3167). It really helps to do this when we don’t have any major decisions, just try to put ourselves in other people’s situations that we read in the news, in books, etc. They don’t even have to be real. That is why fiction often helps the development of social skills and creative problem solving (http://blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=3129).

      Thank you for taking time to think and comment about this.

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