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11 Jul 2013

Emotions vs Intuition (Pt 2): Operational 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 >>

4 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.

  2. seb

    I don’t believe as you say “intuition is creative by nature.” Creativity often comes from chaos, it can manifest from places that intuition doesn’t exist by definition.

    The two can interact briefly the same way a rock skims across a pond where by there is a shared symbiosis but usually only momentarily as when the rocks sinks into the pond.

    I say briefly because of the nature of humans makes it difficult to share cognitive intuition with creativity as those are by nature two opposing forces. I guess it would in some sense be a state of zen?

    Intuition is the ability to assemble past experiences through stored memory without needing to recall all the details in there absolute but for the purpose of better decisions. For instance watching two children playing ball next to a window is a simpler form of intuition which can as you say share the same space with emotions as you may find yourself gently repositioning the children so an accident doesn’t happen.

    The key here is separating what you think as cognitive intuition from self-sabotaging beliefs because negative aspects of our sub-conscious are continually begging for the attention our conscious mind.

    1. Mike Lehr

      Using your definition of intuition, I agree. I’m using a different definition though. You can see mine here: http://omegazadvisors.com/2010/05/01/intuition. If you want to see my history of discussing intuition, you can see it here: https://omegazadvisors.com/category/intuition-2/intuition-basics/.

      Intuition is far, far more than merely assembling past experiences through stored memory without needing to recall details. In many ways it refers to the “feeling of knowing” that some have researched. Even though intuition occurs in the brain, that does not mean a purely cognitive function. As evidence, I cite your phrase “cognitive intuition.” This alone suggests you believe other forms of intuition exist beyond cognitive.

      Finally, I don’t look at the sub-conscious so negatively as you do. I see it more as a driver of positive growth that is often stymied by conscious thought, especially ego and the social conventions with which we’ve been indoctrinated. In other words, the unconscious contains our true selves. Many of the negative aspects you point out come more from the role of the ego and its base instincts of “fight or flight.” Instinct and intuition are very different, although I admit many think they are the same. Much of this is the result of a gender bias when it comes to these two.

      Nonetheless, I thank you for visiting and leaving your insights. Again, I agree with you based on your definition of intuition, especially cognitive intuition. With that said though, we are using different definitions and descriptions of intuition.

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