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Intuition: A Challenge for Psychological Research on Decision Making
Robin M. Hogartha a Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain Online publication date: 03 December 2010
To cite this Article Hogarth, Robin M.(2010) 'Intuition: A Challenge for Psychological Research on Decision Making',
Psychological Inquiry, 21: 4, 338 — 353 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/1047840X.2010.520260 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2010.520260
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Hogarth. say.1 and thus must posit underlying models. Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 The study of decision making has attracted considerable scientiﬁc attention from many disciplines including psychology. 2010b. we lack the technology to see into the mind. Many researchers too have postulated so-called dual process theories (Chaiken & Trope.) Recent years have seen a surge of interest in intuition as a scientiﬁc topic in psychology. 2007. subject to a major difﬁculty. Grassia. 2010 Copyright C Taylor & Francis Group. There are at least two reasons. for example. of actions or process data such as response latencies). Consider. Klein. First. Denes-Raj. 21: 338–353. Hammond conceived of “intuition” and “analysis” as being the endpoints of a continuum of cognitive styles that can be matched to the requirements of a parallel continuum of different task characteristics (Hammond. intuition here refers to the use of knowledge that cannot be made explicit but is surprising—if not a little magical—in its accuracy. we may be able to help them make better decisions.” In 1 This statement is made despite the recent and important advances in neuro-scientiﬁc technology. we often have a choice between experiencing the consequences of blinking or thinking. most people resonate to the notion that there are different—especially two different— ways of apprehending experience and making decisions. As yet. Gl¨ ockner & Witteman. (b) comments on how intuition has been viewed across time in the decision making literature. 2002. and different areas of business administration.Psychological Inquiry. Gilovich. 1999) that distinguish between what can be roughly called “intuitive” and “analytic” decision-making processes. appeals that are made to “women’s intuition” or stories of remarkable intuitive “hunches” made by scientists and business tycoons. 2001. we can always reject models if data are inconsistent with observations (e. LLC ISSN: 1047-840X print / 1532-7965 online DOI: 10. Whereas we can typically observe the actions that people take—and often the ensuing outcomes—we cannot observe the actual processes used.” others require us to “think. “experiential” and “rational” (Epstein. the need to educate intuitive responses. & Heier. more qualitative processes suggested by psychological theories. the concept should not become too broad. 2001). 1987).2010. (d) discusses when intuition is likely to lead to good decisions. Of course. or “tacit” and “deliberate” (Hogarth. which (a) deﬁnes intuition. Grifﬁn. and fourth. see also Epstein. But the fact remains that investigators typically have to take “leaps of faith” concerning models of underlying processes be they formal analytic representations such as expected utility in economics or.1080/1047840X. Whereas appeals to introspection do not provide scientiﬁc proof. Spain Intuition represents an enormous challenge for research on decision making. illuminating culturally acquired values such as morals. although these go under different names. neuroscience. addition. & Kahneman. Intuition plays an important role in lay psychological reasoning.520260 Intuition: A Challenge for Psychological Research on Decision Making Robin M. problems in using intuition for decision making in a changing world. To be useful. good description can lead to good prescription. sociology. & Pearson. However. biology. Second. Hamm. second. Hogarth Department of Economics and Business. the psychoanalytic pioneer Carl Jung (1926) used the term in expounding his theory of personality and today tests based on Jung’s work such as the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (Briggs & Myers. Universitat Pompeu Fabra. 1994). decision making provides an intrinsically interesting set of phenomena. If we know how people make decisions. however. Somewhat earlier. In most cases. 1996.. we recognize that whereas some decisions can be taken in—to use Gladwell’s (2005) term—a “blink. What is intuition? How does it modify our appreciation of cognitive abilities? When should people trust intuition? These questions set the agenda for this article. third. A little less than a century ago. (However. political science. Broadly speaking. 1998. The study of decision making is. the major challenge facing intuition research is the need for conceptual work to deﬁne the nature and scope of different intuitive phenomena. ﬁrst. This has been witnessed by several books (Gigerenzer. 1976) purport to measure preferences for intuitive thinking. 338 . economics. 2000). These are. elucidating the evolution of preferences. Barcelona. Pacini. for example.g. (c) stresses the need to specify different types of intuition. and (e) presents four challenges. “System 1” and “System 2” (Stanovich & West.
This debate. instinct and insight. the major challenge facing intuition research is to classify intuitive phenomena in ways that can lead to more precise and useful questions. I comment on how intuition has been viewed across time in the judgment and decision-making literature. Third...g. how to harness the beneﬁts of intuition in a changing world. 2009. given the current stage of knowledge. this is complicated by the fact that the outputs of intuition have their origins in multiple information-processing systems that operate below the level of consciousness and are heavily dependent on tacit learning. & Sadler-Smith.THE CHALLENGE OF INTUITION Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 Myers. 2008. 14). that is. SadlerSmith. Langan-Fox. I comment on whether and when intuition or analysis is a better way to make decisions. and typically without conscious awareness. Insight means “seeing into” the structure of a problem or issue. Klein. Deﬁning Intuition Several investigators have summarized different deﬁnitions of intuition. this incurs the danger of making the concept of intuition too inclusive. Sadler-Smith. 2008) and articles (Hodgkinson. Insight and intuition are not interchangeable. However. Betsch.. it has been helpful to deﬁne the scope of intuitive phenomena broadly. shutting one’s eyelid automatically in response to a puff of cold air. e. as I argue next. it is essential to understand the relevant advantages and disadvantages of both. Khatri & Ng.. Next. Evolving Views in the Judgment and Decision-Making Literature Taking the mid-1950s as the starting point of this literature. the evolution of preferences. For discussion of these issues. Moreover. Whereas there are differences between these deﬁnitions—some authors weighting some aspects more than others—it is the similarity that is more 2 A further challenge that I do not consider here is to specify the advantages and disadvantages of different methodologies for research on intuition. work on intuition in the applied area of management has evolved from recounting anecdotes to a more scientiﬁc basis (see. say. Second. In many cases. as in a tennis champion’s “instinctive reactions” in a game). for example. result from pattern recognition (see. it is clear that intuitive judgment has not been held in high esteem by researchers for most of the last 60 years. they may have cognitive or emotional origins. Finally.g. see Dane and Pratt (2009) and Gl¨ ockner and Witteman (2010b). Dane & Pratt. For example. following the steps of a proof for a mathematical theorem. In this article. the education of intuitive responses. Imagine. I note that recent work suggests a more optimistic view of human cognitive abilities. & Betsch. contrary to instincts.g. Thus. 2008). 2008. 2002. third. First. “the essence of intuition or intuitive responses is that they are reached with little apparent effort. Damasio. Most authors also agree that intuitions are experienced in a holistic manner (e. Indeed. Table 1) provided deﬁnitions from 17 different authors. However. ﬁrst. second.. insight can also be achieved through deliberate processes. An instinct is a reaction that is innate.g. p. e. It is important to distinguish the two concepts by the fact that. Clearly one can achieve insight into a problem in an intuitive manner.g. Plessner. The article is organized as follows. namely. I discuss four challenges posed by the role of intuition in human action and decision making. Meehl (1954) documented 339 . conclusions are based on overall impressions as opposed to cognitively combining separate elements of a problem. However. I stick with the deﬁnition that I provided some 10 years ago. for example. however. striking than the differences. learning and intuition are inseparable. and fourth. These concern. 2000). 1994. Thus. cognition is complex. Two Other “In-” Words Intuition is often confused with two other words that also start with the preﬁx “in-”—speciﬁcally. Describing intuitive reactions of behavior as “instinctive” then should only be considered metaphorically (e.2 I conclude by noting that. 2007. intuition is the result of learning. I take stock of this interest and ask how it can add to our understanding of judgment and decision making. I make the point that intuition covers many different functions and that these need to be identiﬁed to understand when it is and is not likely to be effective. intuitions represent learned behavior. For this reason. that is. 2001. 1993) or feelings such as. In particular. 1996). is possibly misleading in that effective decision making requires intuition and analysis. the characterization of actions as intuitive or non-intuitive is a matter of degree. as previously noted. Most of the actions we take involve a mixture of intuitive and non-intuitive elements or processes (as discussed further next). Le Doux. e. Finally. To this I add that intuitive judgments are typically— but not always—correlated with speed and often a sense of conﬁdence. Kahneman & Klein. judgments of culturally induced values such as morals. I brieﬂy deﬁne what I mean by intuition. Dane and Pratt (2007. fear (see. In addition. They involve little or no conscious deliberation” (Hogarth. First. Fourth. in a landmark study on the accuracy of intuitive or “clinical” judgment. 2009) that would provide more than enough material for advanced graduate-level courses.
in addition to researchers who aimed to show that inferences being made about human judgment abilities were incorrect (e. from intuition inducing to analysis inducing. I consider the importance of recognition further next. 1981. or medicine (Groopman.g. limiting the contribution of intuition merely to correlations involving residuals underestimates the role of intuition in lens model-type situations that can involve automatic processing (Gl¨ ockner & Betsch. Gigerenzer.. in the case of judgment. there is a legitimate argument that much of the systematic. Calderwood. Of course.. That is. intuitive judgments are systematically biased. base rate information is not ignored. Tversky & Kahneman. Karelaia & Hogarth.. Gigerenzer and Hoffrage (1995) showed that reframing Bayesian updating problems using so-called natural frequencies induced far more accurate responses by experimental participants.e. Snitz. Third. 2007). probability assessment (Hogarth. phenomena such as illusory correlation (Chapman & Chapman. 2000). in many inferential tasks. Once again. it is more than compensated for by the consistency of models when these are used instead of humans for prediction (Camerer. 2005). the work of Klein and his collaborators conducted within the naturalistic decision-making paradigm is relevant because of its emphasis on how experts use intuitive pattern recognition in their professional judgments (Klein. from intuition to analysis. there was considerable support for this framework (Hammond et al. and in the case of tasks. 2008). e. 1975). For an even simpler and natural characterization of probabilistic reasoning. Slovic.4 The contribution of Gigerenzer was to ask two questions similar to those posed by Hammond. Building on Brunswik’s (1952) theory of probabilistic functionalism. 1974) contributed to the impression that. 1981). However. However. Fourth—and perhaps most inﬂuentially—the “heuristics and biases” program on probabilistic reasoning (Kahneman. intuition) could be mistaken in systematic ways. & Zsambok. & Tversky. 2008). because people are physically incapable of performing all the rational calculations required by economic theory. & Nelson.3 Moreover. Lebow. intuition was not always explicitly deﬁned. In one. 1987).5 Second. in an intriguing earlier study. Thus. analysis of the accuracy of human judgment in “bootstrapping” studies—where predictions of models of people’s judgments are compared with the predictions people make themselves—has led to the conclusion that the intuitive component of judgment adds little to predictive performance. 1982. Peters. Hoffrage. & Kleinb¨ olting. in many cases. see Hogarth and Soyer (2010). determining whether analysis or intuition is “better” also requires considering what kinds of error are worse and by how much. he did not establish that experts were actually relying on intuition (as previously deﬁned) and so the real comparison was between statistical decision rules and unaided human judgment (assumed to be mainly intuitive). Thus.g. Second. Finally. Orasanu. The key to good judgment is to match task demands and cognitive style. At one level this preoccupation with dysfunctional aspects of unaided human judgment (intuition) was healthy. Hammond developed the cognitive intuitive component in judgment is analyzed using residual terms in Brunswik’s (1952) lens model framework (Karelaia & Hogarth.g. in his original article Simon (1955) suggested that people reduce cognitive load by using aspiration levels. The key notion is that. The key idea is that both styles of judgment and task characteristics can be arranged along parallel continua ranging.. important contributions were made by Hammond. but there was an underlying assertion that people’s judgments were being systematically inﬂuenced by forces beyond their conscious awareness (e. linear processing captured within the lens model framework could itself be intuitive in nature. instead of “maximizing” by identifying the best alternative in a large choice set. 1981). what kinds of tasks is the human mind naturally suited to handling? Second. Other researchers have documented similar ﬁndings (Grove. 1970. 3 The Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 continuum theory mentioned brieﬂy earlier. First. Thus. Zald.. 5 Representation by natural frequencies incorporates base rates in the data presented in a way that is natural for people to consider in their calculations. It suggested that. For example. the implicit use of similarity in the representativeness heuristic). and Klein and their collaborators. 1967) established the notion that unaided human judgment (i. Changes in our Appreciation of Cognitive Abilities Research on decision making has also been greatly inﬂuenced by Simon’s (1955) concept of bounded rationality. and in an important empirical investigation concerning judgments of highway safety. people adopt the simpler and 4 Parenthetically. Hammond. Goldberg. 1991).HOGARTH that statistical rules could outpredict experts in certain diagnostic tasks. 1993). Hogarth. Cohen. they resort instead to other mechanisms. people should seek help in making judgments in applied areas such as management (Bazerman. From the perspective of this article. 2008b). others questioned the boundary conditions of the heuristics and biases movement (see. how do the characteristics of tasks people face in laboratory situations match those encountered in their natural environments or ecology? These questions were answered in two separate investigations. 340 . overconﬁdence in judgment can be considerably mitigated when questions posed by investigators involve samples from the domain of participants’ natural environments (Gigerenzer. and Summers (1974) illustrated how using analytic and intuitive processes leads to different types of error distributions in judgmental tasks.
. Clearly. As such. and it can be viewed independently from the rest of memory. Kahneman & Frederick. they cannot be accurate in all environments. although heuristics advocated in this latter approach often have a strong deliberative component). In many cases. Indeed. & the ABC Group. They went on to cite several studies that attest to just how remarkable human memory is in its ability to recognize previously encountered stimuli. who noted that “because recognition continues to operate even under adverse circumstances. Regehr. and creative (described as feelings that “arise when knowledge is combined in novel 341 . consider Simon’s (1955) satisﬁcing rule. Functions and Varieties of Intuition Intuition is clearly involved in many types of cognitive operations. we view it as a primordial psychological mechanism” (p. Simon & Chase. for example. 6 I do not mean to imply here that all heuristics are intuitive rules. Whereas scholars have alternatively emphasized the functional and dysfunctional aspects of these heuristics (see. if decision rules do not maximize then. e. Klayman & Ha. although implying systematic errors in some situations. Simon’s (1955) work was entirely consistent with the Zeitgeist of the “cognitive revolution” that—from an information processing viewpoint—depicted the mind as a computer with impoverished computational power. 1999. 2008b). they represent a stock of knowledge that I have referred to as cultural capital (Hogarth. Intuitions can be thought of as inferences that look forward or backward in time or. this has been shown to occur even in decision-making tasks that are subject to severe cognitive limitations such as memory and time constraints where researchers previously assumed that people would have relied on deliberate heuristic decision rules (see. such as the ability of chess masters to recognize many thousands of positions from possible games (Ericsson & Charness. It is clearly an important intuitive asset. Gettys. estimating where a ball will land after being hit in the air.THE CHALLENGE OF INTUITION practical goal of ﬁnding an alternative that is “good enough” (i. the interesting implication of work on intuition is that it has highlighted dimensions of information processing where cognitive limitations do not play an important role. by deﬁnition. 77). However. moral (a subset of the cultural capital idea discussed further next). That is.. Something has happened and the outcome of intuition is a hypothesis that could explain “why. 2007). For example.g. the fact remains that our intellectual legacy is a collection of mechanisms (or heuristics) that function in the manner of intuitive rules. This literature has been well summarized by Goldstein and Gigerenzer (2002).e. Balthazard. A third factor is the growing evidence of the importance of automatic processing.” Bowers. and Parker (1990) referred to the distinction between intuition in the context of justiﬁcation (forward-looking predictions) and the context of discovery (backward diagnosis). However. for example. 1994. 1982). Fei-Fei. That it is a basic cognitive mechanism that was probably developed through evolutionary pressures is reinforced by the ﬁndings that several nonhuman species show similar capacities. Klein. people will deliberately choose to use heuristics instead of attempting more complete and rational analysis of problems.6 To the extent that these heuristics represent intuitive judgment. In particular. 2002). Of course.. 1979. Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 A second important intuitive asset is the capacity for recognition. 2001). Kahneman et al.g. 1993. 2002). & Ogden. It is therefore important to determine how characteristics of rules match the demands of environmental tasks and consequently when particular rules—or intuitions—are likely to be effective (Hogarth & Karelaia. without conscious awareness of the process) make judgments that experiments have shown to be consistent with speciﬁc heuristics (cf. Dane and Pratt (2009) also provided a classiﬁcation of types of intuition. One of these “practical nonlimitations” is the human ability to process and encode frequency information accurately (see also next). it is important that these be classiﬁed in ways that facilitate understanding.. For example. that meets an aspiration level).” Simon’s ideas went a long way to help explain why people resort to “heuristics” or simpliﬁed decision rules that. One important distinction lies in the content of intuitions. people intuitively (i. Dougherty. They distinguished problem solving (based on pattern recognition). it can be argued that intuition is ﬂawed (when the emphasis is on errors as in Gilovich et al.. Zacks & Hasher. recent research shows that even limitations on attention may be less severe than previously thought. 2010). alternatively. 1984. 2008a.e. e. & Kastner. 1999. The evidence on this topic is both uncontroversial and overwhelming (Hasher & Zacks. in understanding frequency distributions associated with different sources of food. when faced with speciﬁc tasks. Gl¨ ockner & Betsch. Todd. recognition memory is at the heart of intuitive expertise. Finally. 2002) or highly effective relative to other decision rules (as in Gigerenzer et al.. 1999. this process is not “rational” in that it cannot guarantee identifying the best alternative. are generally valid in their use (Gigerenzer. Backward-looking inferences are diagnostic in nature.. Forward-looking inferences are essentially predictions. 1973). 1987). there is evidence that the visual system can extract categorical information—such as the presence of cars or animals—in scenes after very brief exposure and even when performing unrelated tasks that demand attention (Peelen. people are typically content to “satisﬁce.
this is not true of intuitions from all stocks of cultural capital. The basic level refers to instinctive or biological reactions such as when we sense that we are hungry or thirsty. or interpretation” (Reber. The notion of intuition as a stock of knowledge or cultural capital lies in the fact that. 1992). are concerned mainly with the integration of information from memory traces and/or currently perceived information. However. This is that although. their work is welcome in that it suggests ways of moving beyond simplistic explanations that depend on dual-process classiﬁcations such as “System 1” and “System 2. primitive. if we consider the different types of intuitions just deﬁned (forward and backward inferences and stocks). affect. that we share with lower animals and that operates in a machine-like manner. say. The latter. affect. However. Yet. The second (i. Gl¨ ockner and Witteman (2010a) correctly pointed out that these four categories of intuition are not completely distinct but that because they capture somewhat different phenomena. over time. and schemas and retrieval processes that depend on the matching of stimuli to exemplars and prototypes. moral judgments. 1989. Many Information-Processing Systems Earlier I referred to the extensive work conducted within the conceptual framework of “dual process” models (Chaiken & Trope. whereas affect can be involved in the ﬁrst three types of intuition as an input. the accuracy of particular forward or backward inferences can be veriﬁed. Not only does intuition engage research on cognitive processes. for example. cultural reaction toward. In contrast. it also demands that researchers adopt a broad perspective and deal with issues of nonconscious thought processes. & Czyzewska. This thus includes phenomena such as the automatic encoding of frequency information. but it is not clear what is “correct” or even why. Building on the work of Reber (1989. Two of these. it becomes clearer that humans have many different informationprocessing systems and that there are further useful distinctions to be made within the two processes of dual models. and so on. the automatic encoding of frequency information. prototypes. As such. The primitive level is involved in a variety of basic information-processing functions that are “more or less devoid of meaning. 2008). matching intuition) involves the learning of exemplars. p. if one pushes the dual process idea further and. or cultural reactions to events). veils worn by Muslim women? Intuitive reactions to this practice clearly vary by culture. However. The third and fourth categories. conceptual problem. The levels were labeled basic. They are distinctive in the senses suggested by their names. our responses have been tuned by natural selection and thus should generally . And.. The usefulness of the particular categories proposed by Gl¨ ockner and Witteman (2010a) is an open question. in particular. 231). intuitive. job-related expertise. Hill. the particular intuitions that emerge may depend on whether inferences are forward or backward looking in time. As noted. this provides a useful distinction between judgments or actions that can be thought of as being intuitive or analytic in nature and has helped to illuminate many phenomena (Epstein. Accumulative intuition deals with the accumulation of evidence from different sources... At the basic level. Much attention has been paid as to whether and when intuitions are “correct” or more “accurate” than the outcomes of deliberate processes. This thus includes.” There is a compelling need to understand better the varieties of System 1 behavior. images. involve processes of learning and retrieval. whereas constructive intuition involves the activation of related information and the construction of consistent mental representations.” for example.e. forward and backward inferences are not independent of our stocks of knowledge (or cultural capital) but draw on them.g. associative in342 tuition and matching intuition. there is an important. it pays to make the distinction. starts to look deeper into nonconscious and automatic processing. in principle. to have a speciﬁc. This is an important issue that I consider throughout this article. and so on. it can be both an input and an output in constructive intuition. For example. in Hogarth (2001) I considered discriminating between three levels of automatic or subconscious processing and asking about the extent to which people should trust the outcomes of these different levels of processes. 1993). The ﬁrst deals primarily with simple stimulus-response type processes such as classical conditioning. social learning. Gl¨ ockner and Witteman (2010a) made precisely this argument and suggested that intuitive processes might be usefully categorized in four different ways. learning. An important implication of studying intuition is that it demands the simultaneous consideration of many phenomena that psychologists typically study in relative isolation (Hodgkinson et al. 1994). is similar to backward diagnosis. this is the basis of much professional expertise that is based on recognition. of course. we might reach different answers. 1999). and the integration of different information-processing systems. Is it “correct. the sophisticated unconscious is quintessentially human and involves the interpretation—through meaning and affect—of experience (see also Lewicki. it can be assumed.HOGARTH Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 ways”). If we ask about the inherent “wisdom” of the subconscious at these three levels. we acquire much tacit knowledge on which we draw in making all kinds of inferences be they professional or private (e. our preferences. In a stimulating article. accumulative intuition and constructive intuition. and sophisticated.
Kahneman & Klein. Gl¨ ockner & Witteman.g. Zacks & Hasher. it may be impossible not to have certain intuitive social prejudices. the accuracy of their judgment will be inferior to that of an explicit analytical rule—prediction by the relevant base rate. 2007). But that this does not mean that one should be excused for acting on them. see also earlier). 1974). Feedback is neither missing nor distorted. it is unclear how representative the situation is. 1993) on im7 That we are by nature “prepared” to learn some reactions more than others (see. 2009). At the primitive level. intuition is shaped by learning. Olsson. 2006). Moreover. people can still acquire biased beliefs if the selections of the samples they see reﬂect differential payoffs. be careful (cf. Indeed. Fiedler & Juslin. 2002. e. when the sample of instances the person has encountered is representative of the environment in which the ensuing intuitive judgment is applied. Fiedler. Worse still. if people discount uncertainty by. 2005. On the contrary. For the most part. Hence. From the viewpoint of establishing valid intuitions (in a predictive sense). see Elwin. in a recent theoretical analysis.g. How to teach people to develop such skills is. an important issue for research (see also next). The concepts of kind and wicked environment lead naturally to describing when intuitions can and cannot be trusted (in a predictive sense). For example. they lack the metacognitive ability to correct for sampling biases and/or missing feedback (however. Parenthetically. 1978). the work by Reber (1989. In addition. in many cases. Moreover. the human ability to apply grammatically correct rules in speech—but without being able to articulate them— is a stunning everyday example of the power of tacit learning to form accurate intuitions. number of times we have observed certain people in a street) and can even break these down into categories if asked more reﬁned questions (e. even if samples are representative of underlying processes. the wisdom is far harder to assess and I suspect is subject to greater variation (on some scale of bad to good) than at the other levels. for example. & Enkvist. 1994. When a person’s past experience is both representative of the situation relevant to the decision and supported by much valid feedback. whether the experience is relevant to the situation currently faced has to be assessed (see the upcoming discussion in the Learning section). There is extensive evidence.g. our naive human learning processes are remarkably well adapted to the regularities of the environments that we encounter. mistaken beliefs can lead to dysfunctional actions in the form of self-fulﬁlling prophecies (Einhorn & Hogarth. 2000. in my view. in Hogarth (2001) I made a distinction between what I called kind and wicked learning environments. plicit grammars shows that people can learn new rules to relate words even when involved in tasks which demand active attention on other issues. what proportion were women?). 1970) should not distract from this assertion. we may in fact be aware of the learning process but. 1979. Unfortunately. To highlight this. even though some responses people make are instinctive (see earlier). there are exceptions.THE CHALLENGE OF INTUITION Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 be trusted. this is both a great strength and a source of weakness. samples of experience are not representative and feedback might be missing or distorted. that we maintain frequency counts of events that occur in our environments even when we are not speciﬁcally motivated to do so (e.. However. somatic marker hypothesis). trust the intuition. 343 . for example. this skill appears to be quite accurate across the life cycle and hardly varies as a function of individual differences (Hasher & Zacks. 2008). the reactions acquired are likely to be automated such that one is no longer aware of the fact that they are being reinforced and adapted by experience. The point made by these studies is that. Juslin..7 In developing some intuitions. with the passage of time. and so on. an important challenge for intuition researchers is to identify useful ways of classifying different mechanisms of subconscious informationprocessing systems and. by specifying their functions. 2010a. In short. to illuminate the conditions under which they are functional and dysfunctional for the organism (see also Bargh & Morsella. Seligman. I deﬁned kind learning environments as those where the information tacitly processed leads to valid inferences. the learning processes involved in the honing of our intuitions escape conscious attention. whereas people might process the data they see in an appropriate manner. In short. when it is not. in wicked learning environments. However. for example. Le Mens and Denrell (2010) pointed out how. it is clear that one can trust that the process has faithfully recorded one’s experience. As to the sophisticated level. not all reactions to eat when hungry are functional when one considers how the supply of food (in terms of both quantity and variety) differs today from that experienced by our ancestors. Learning There is almost universal agreement that. relying on the representativeness heuristic (Tversky & Kahneman. Examples of effects of wicked environments have been documented by several researchers and used to explain several different types of cognitive biases such as illusory correlations (Denrell. For example.. it is important that people learn to control their intuitive reactions through deliberate analytic thoughts or actions. Another way of putting this is to say that intuitions from the sophisticated level of the subconscious provide signals that require interpretation (see also Damasio’s. 1984.
Finucane. To illustrate. Items could be scanned incorrectly into the system and. For example. 2008a). & MacGregor. e. you may not even be aware that you made the judgment unless the total announced by the cashier differs signiﬁcantly from the intuitive estimation. But in this kind of situation. 1994. I suggested that task complexity is an important source of error in analytic thought. of course.. This intuitive judgment is made holistically and with little conscious effort. Slovic. Cuxart. Loewenstein.g. 1993. This system can. Weber. Le Doux.g. For many.e. From a scientiﬁc perspective. In short.).. First. Despite a natural scientiﬁc skepticism about the relative success of intuitive reactions as opposed to 344 the outcomes of rational deliberative processes. by recognition). errors in analytic thought are characterized by data entry problems and/or the inappropriate speciﬁcation/application of a formula. the relative magnitude of the different possible errors needs to be assessed across different types of situations. You know. One way to conceptualize this issue is to consider the different types of errors that can be made in intuitive as opposed to analytic thought and to consider how the relative sizes of the errors are likely to vary by the type of situation considered (Hogarth. 2008b. Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 Emotional Reactions In many ways. Zajonc.g. prior to receiving it. In Hogarth (2005). The second is the unacknowledged importance of luck—sometimes an intuitive response does get it “right” in difﬁcult circumstances. it should be clear that it also relevant to considerations of affect and complex stimuli like patterns. Each item has a unique price. Of interest. whether analysis or intuition is likely to be more accurate. whereas few people make errors in simple arithmetic tasks (e. . it is nonetheless appropriate to ask when people would be better off trusting intuition (i. Hsee & Rottenstreich. e. however. for example. and many authors have explicitly discussed the role of the emotional system in intuitive judgments (see. how much you usually pay for groceries and approximately how much your current purchases differ from average. there is something emotionally satisfying about the notion that an instantaneous judgment—or blink (Gladwell. In considering. when forecasting stock prices. demonstrate effective pattern recognition skills when confronted with new challenges (see.. mistakes could be made by. & Kolev. there has been a growing appreciation of how emotional states affect judgments of risk and probability (see. 78. “thinking”) in making decisions. who have experienced many thousands of different situations. the probability of an analytic error is small. Thus. the same 8 Most people seem to accept that very few errors are made in that few ever actually check their bills. intuition is experienced as a “feeling” of knowing. However. Chase & Simon. in other cases. inverting ﬁgures (e. and the bill is determined by explicitly adding the prices of all the products selected. Clearly.8 Now. Think. therefore. intuitive judgments are simply emotional reactions (cf. the somatic marker hypothesis proposed by Damasio (1994) relates to the automatic learning of affective reactions to different types of stimuli that signal appropriate or inappropriate choice alternatives. At the same time. emotion-affect-feelings are all central to the topic of intuition. although you know that your intuitive estimate is not exactly right. In the decision-making literature.. 1980). Isen.16 is entered as 87. Hogarth. or “Smink”? One source of the considerable lay interest in intuition lies in the recounting of stories where successful decisions in different walks of life have been attributed to effortless. intuitive reactions. rational analysis of a decision problem (Kahneman & Klein. for example. Portell. As previously noted. you expect it to be approximately correct.HOGARTH This discussion of learning has been framed so far as though it only applied to speciﬁc cognitive acts. Blink. 2004). In analytic judgments. 2002).g. 2008a. in press). subtle priming of emotions can have important effects on judgmental outputs (De Vries. if some items are entered manually. e. & Cuxart. “blinking”) or analysis (i.g.g. & Welch.. despite the fact that your bill is estimated analytically. 1973). Peters.. you probably already have an intuitive expectation as to roughly what it will be. Hsee. The process is also quite transparent. & Witteman. intuitive judgments tend to be holistic and are based on reactions to speciﬁc cues (e.e. consider the task of estimating one’s grocery bill at the checkout aisle of a supermarket. 2001). In some cases. The true success rate of intuition is not known. chess masters. using an inappropriate anchor in judgment) or idiosyncratic momentary inﬂuences such as the salience of some information or affective states (Gl¨ ockner & Betsch. Holland. 2005). 2005)—can be more “correct” (or accurate) than the outcome of a deliberative. 1996. Similarly.. 2007. involve errors. the elements of a problem are identiﬁed and subsequently aggregated in some manner. there are at least two issues with interpreting such events. 2009).16. etc. on the other hand. emotion acts as “intuitive moderators” that affect judgments in a partial manner (Hogarth.. The ﬁrst is a disproportional recall of incidents where intuition was correct as opposed to incorrect. say. Indeed. Portell. note that the system used by the supermarket is entirely analytic. 23 + 18 = ?). Errors in intuitive thought are essentially those of bias induced from past experience (e.g.. Damasio.
It is less clear how to assess the probability of bias in intuitive thought except to say that this will reﬂect the conditions under which speciﬁc responses have been learned. 1989. I have outlined different types of intuition and pointed out that not all can be empirically validated. A further point is that in many applied settings there is no obvious analytical model to which decision makers can appeal. & van Baaren. Nordgren. This is that predictive ability—whether intuitive or analytic—has an upper bound deﬁned by the extent to which the relevant event can be predicted in the environment. The argument made is that the process of unconscious thought during the interruption stage somehow leads to better decisions.10 Moreover. However. The surprising result is that these delayed choices turn out to be better than the choices made by control participants who are not subject to the same manipulation. Thus. Results suggest that. 1952. time and time again. the advantage shifts to intuition. number of variables. But blinking (intuition) and thinking (analysis) are not the only alternatives for prediction. for example. 1999) may not be optimal from an ex ante statistical viewpoint but have been shown. and Gaba (2009)—to cover situations where human judgment is explicitly replaced by simple statistical models such as those banks use for credit scoring (i. in press). & Dunn. deliberation can have distorting effects that might not occur if people were more explicitly aware of their preferences (Wilson. Hogarth. (Note that an essential part of this manipulation is that participants know they will be asked to make a decision later on. Samper. that is. 2006. Wilson & Schooler. In summary... 1991). the feedback they receive after making decisions is typically quite clear. the issues are far from being settled. for example. Wong.). for example. participants are interrupted in the process of choosing and asked to defer their decisions until they have completed another experimental task. In their paradigm. Intuitively. This. Consider. certain kinds of aesthetic judgments or even a business person evaluating opportunities for an entirely novel product. been questioned by other researchers (Acker. 2008. 2008. simple analysis — using a ruler — is sufﬁcient to resolve any conﬂict that they are in fact the same length even though one might still “see” the lines as different. However.9 As tasks become more analytically complex. because tasks vary on how much they are or are not compatible with natural response modes. Sticking to predictive intuitions. bias in intuitive responses can depend on how questions are asked. & Jones. Newell. for example. (1987) when engineers made judgments of the aesthetic quality of highways using analytic processes. Consider. Cheung. types of functions. Kraft. Dijksterhuis. the difference between intuitive and analytic thought might be moot although empirical studies show a slight advantage for analytic methods (Hogarth. In addition. the probability of making errors also reﬂects individual differences. 2010. consider the M¨ uller-Lyer illusion. Hammond.THE CHALLENGE OF INTUITION respondents could err in attempting to revise probabilities using Bayes’ rule. a mismatch between the demands of the task and the cogni9 As a simple example. & Luce. If environmental predictability is low. Dijksterhuis & Nordgren.) These ﬁndings can be interpreted as providing a rationale for delaying decisions by “sleeping on them” thereby allowing unconscious thought (intuition?) to improve them. 1999). to be effective ex post (Hogarth. Elsewhere in this article. Payne. Gigerenzer et al. 1996). Stick to analysis. Bos. the probability of making errors in analytic thought can be thought of as an increasing function of task complexity (as measured by. The role of intuition in the form of unconscious thought has been highlighted by a series of studies by Dijksterhuis and his colleagues (see. There is also sminking—a term introduced by Makridakis. Although intriguing. a deliberate process designed to overcome the inconsistencies of thinking). if unsure about their preferences. Whether people do or do 345 Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 .. and thus intuition is almost the only source of reaction. etc. would undoubtedly make fewer errors in Bayesian probability revision tasks than members of the general public. McLeod. we see (judge) the two lines to differ in length.g. Kahneman and Klein (2009) emphasized an obvious but important point (see also Brunswik. Bettman. Arkes.g. but this is subject to the provision that the decision maker’s intuitions have been honed in kind environments. The ﬁndings and boundary conditions of Dijksterhuis’s paradigm have. resolving the conﬂict between intuition and analysis is easy when tasks are analytically simple. These models (often based on heuristic principles. Nonetheless. it has been found that decision aids that force people to be explicit about their reasons for decisions heighten satisfaction in choice relative to control groups without such aids (Kmett. were they acquired in kind or wicked learning environments? In addition. in press). however. expertise in particular. 2009). e.. Moreover. weighting schemes. & Rakow. 10 Chess masters also check their intuitive responses by analytic considerations.) tive strategy used can be dysfunctional as demonstrated by Hammond et al. Statisticians. 2006). would characterize the behavior of chess masters who—based on extensive past experience with feedback—can quickly identify what actions to take as soon as they see situations on a chess board. 1983). judging visually the likely trajectory of a moving object as opposed to answering in response to a verbal description of the same problem (McCloskey.e. their ﬁrst reactions might still limit the alternatives they generate (Bilali. Several studies have examined the differential effects on decision quality of requiring people to make reasons for choice explicit as opposed to trusting to immediate feelings. & Gobet. e.
to explicitly treat emotions “as data. How do people acquire preferences? How do these change through experience? To what extent are preferences the outcomes of conscious processes or do they result entirely from nonconscious processes and. Gilovich et al. Important Challenges As previously noted. These concern (a) preferences and (b) judgments of culturally induced concepts such as morals. answers to these important questions are quite incomplete. which with enough data will eventually converge. for example. I believe that the debate is better framed by asking how to bring both to bear on the issues. Moreover. The ﬁrst two involve judgments based on people’s stocks of intuitions or cultural capital. of course.g. on the other hand. The important point raised by Zajonc is to suggest that our preferences are being constantly updated by experience even though we are unaware of the extent to which this happens. there are some situations where the answer is evident (i. The analysis involves the realization that. Whereas preference and inference are the 346 twin concepts around which much decision research is conducted.” the lack of such a model has undoubtedly handicapped research on preferences. there is no simple answer as to whether intuition or analysis leads to better decisions. 2009).. giving up control to a simple model in fact provides more control over outcomes in that it increases the overall level of predictive ability. if two people have quite different beliefs but then have access to the same relevant facts.” increasing positive affect is accompanied by increased exposure.. The intuitive belief is that it is important to maintain control over one’s predictions (Kahneman & Klein. the possibility that preferences might—for the most part—be acquired through tacit experience was highlighted by Zajonc’s (1968) ﬁndings of the “mere exposure” effect. probability theory) has been crucial to investigations of statistical intuitions or “beliefs. a self-fulﬁlling process. 1986). that is. In psychology. Whereas the existence of a normative standard (i. one has to accept error to make less error (Einhorn. Clearly. are in the domain of intuition? To date. Bayes’ rule has been proposed as an optimal learning model. However to do this. because most decisions involve both analytic and intuitive elements. This is not to say. and the fourth raises the point that. it is argued. whereas beliefs are made operational by the probabilities attached to relevant uncertain events. It suggests that the preferences used to select outcomes will in turn be affected by how those outcomes are experienced so that choice becomes. the study of intuition requires multiple perspectives from psychologists. I advocated augmenting analysis of problems by considering the impact of one’s feelings.. In Hogarth (2001).” it appears that it leads to liking (although there are boundary conditions such as states of satiation where one can have “too much of a good thing”). Contrary to the popular saying that “familiarity breeds contempt. The third issue relates to whether and how intuitions can be educated. In economics. From a decision-theoretic standpoint. that is. imagine you have a preference for food . a model to parallel Bayes’ rule for inference (although one could argue that learning models can capture how preferences do change). as such. preferences are assumed to be “exogenous” and unchanging (Stigler & Becker. an analytical principle that confounds popular intuition. in part. theories of beliefs in the form of probabilities have been well conceptualized.” Identifying ways in which people can successfully incorporate both intuition and analysis in decision making is an important challenge for future research (for an example. they will both revise their beliefs. 1977). First.e. e. For example. although it is recognized that preferences can change through experience. I raise four issues that.HOGARTH Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 not use such models can be conceived as involving an important conﬂict between intuitive and analytic arguments. Preferences capture how much people value or “like” the possible outcomes of decisions. In this ﬁnal section. 1990). In situations where people encounter stimuli that are not experienced as doing them “harm. previously I cited the example of chess masters who explicitly verify their intuitive reactions by analytical considerations. The important point is that there is a model that makes beliefs operational and speciﬁes how they should be changed in the light of new evidence. On one hand. this is disturbing. deserve special attention.. Finally. in decision making. if intuitions arise through experience. For example. that beliefs always follow Bayes’ rule (indeed there is a huge literature devoted to this topic. there is a large asymmetry in the type of attention paid to each. However. see Blattberg & Hoch. Beliefs. analysis for problems involving arithmetic and intuition when the complexity of analysis is overwhelming as in some kinds of aesthetic judgments). how can people— and society as a whole—acquire intuitions relevant to a world that none of us has experienced? Preferences Normative theories of decision making distinguish clearly between preferences and beliefs (or inferences). Indeed.e. 2002). could hardly be more different. in a noisy environment. preferences and beliefs should be independent of each other. result from knowledge or data that people acquire and can be modiﬁed by processes of learning. The status of preferences. there are no “normative” models that suggest how preferences should change as a result of experience. in my opinion. As an everyday example. see.
thus. many organizations in society are aware of the power of tacit learning. but their descendants (reared in a world where slavery is outlawed) acquire an intuitive moral sense that it is unacceptable. Consider. corporate. Cultural Capital In Hogarth (2001). moral judgments that clearly merit much more elaboration. Consider cases as benign as the use of speciﬁc words by American or British speakers of English or as emotionally charged as objects that serve as symbols of different religions. reactions in social environments. Most social learning results from absorbing information about how to behave through implicit messages. Whether one looks “good” in that new outﬁt can typically be decided instantly (even though it is still prudent to check out ﬁrst impressions as well as the cost of the clothes!). The other is that. Intuitions involved in what I call cultural capital are far ranging. 1985). on one hand. 2001. and even religious beliefs are all largely the fruit of tacit learning. this and similar observations led Slovic et al. across life. consider how many highly “moral” people accepted the practice of slavery through the 18th century and yet. Indeed. my main point is that through the development of cultural capital people acquire notions of many important concepts that could well be illuminated by recognizing their intuitive origins. One is that of cognitive efﬁciency. There are two important issues. Thus the type of environment in which people are reared clearly plays a huge role in the development of moral intuitions (Narvaez.” But the cultural capital of our moral intuitions is not immutable because. Here I have considered preferences and. you have to do something (perhaps by legislation) so that succeeding generations can acquire “appropriate” intuitions by experiencing a new “status quo. it could be argued that choosing immediately what you prefer (“like”) may be a good choice strategy in the sense of satisfying one’s “true” preferences. eventually change the moral intuitions of succeeding generations. Of interest. through education—in the broadest sense including tacit learning—people acquire moral intuitions that guide what is assumed to distinguish right from wrong. Indeed. The point about cultural capital is similar to preferences. across generations. for instance. As an example. Consider. In other words.THE CHALLENGE OF INTUITION Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 X over food Y. One implication is that if you don’t “like” the world the way it is now.g. 2006). For further examples. in many instances. and this makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary viewpoint. Consider. and various forms of discrimination. the notion that we possess an automatic system for adapting our preferences to our experiences can be seen from two perspectives. what should be the relative roles in ethics of principles suggested by intuitive moral judgments. Instead. Namely. Clearly. situations where holistic appreciations of choice alternatives are needed such as when buying items of clothing. 2010). Haidt. However. like many emotional reactions. it represents the idiosyncratic nature of their experiences with life that were not all actively chosen. Narvaez. People do not set out to choose their cultural capital in some objective manner. consider how people assess the 347 . by inﬂuencing behavior. old slave owners may never acquire a moral intuition that slavery is abhorrent. Instead. (2002) to suggest an “affect” heuristic by which people express preference for alternatives that they just “like” without being able to specify why. consider judgments of fairness. for example. military. In fact. Finally. Thus. today. 2010. how religious.” Parenthetically.. First. One interesting recent line of research has involved the role of intuition in moral judgments (see. attitudes (including prejudices). equity. Interestingly. moral judgments just “happen. social justice. necessarily culturally and time speciﬁc. for example. 2004)? Which takes precedence? The second question assumes an answer to the ﬁrst. Moral intuitions are. As Zajonc (1980) elegantly argued. people should be given the opportunity to absorb a new culture through observing living examples that may be ampliﬁed by appropriate “myths” and stories (Schein. people acquire stocks of intuitions or cultural capital that are predominantly the product of tacit learning that has taught us how to survive in our particular cultural niches. I introduced the notion that. brieﬂy. what are the foundations of moral judgments? Second. and rational arguments. as a ﬁnal point speciﬁcally related to decision making. Thus. our preferences are formed passively by our idiosyncratic experiences and thus might not be consistent with those we would choose after reﬂection. “preferences need no inferences” in that many objects (or situations) are immediately classiﬁed on a “liking” scale without conscious effort. their descendants would consider this abhorrent. on the other (Haidt & Joseph. whereas individuals may not be aware of the extent to which they have been formed to “think” in this way. rationally derived arguments can affect morality and. e. Then the choice of X could lead you to like it even more thereby reducing the chance that you will try Y in the future. the contrast between rearing children in environments where violence is or is not tolerated. and academic institutions inculcate beliefs among their adherents. people reared in different environments react differently to the same stimulus depending on their experiences. the claim made is that an important part of our intuitive emotional apparatus is to help us make choices without the need for conscious effort. consultants interested in promoting new cultures in organizations explicitly argue that leaders should not tell people what to do.
11 For ideas on educating intuition in the context of management education. 2008). from expected value to expected utility. 1983). or even professors) people can acquire a sense of which reactions are appropriate in which situations. and yet respondents indicated high conﬁdence in the correctness of their actions. In many ways. as shown by Gigerenzer and Hoffrage (1995). etc. there is abundant evidence in society that organizations educate the intuitions (i. they did not always know what feedback would be appropriate. Similarly.. by shadowing recognized masters (be they musicians. for example. Thus if you are interested in developing intuitive expertise in a particular domain. Whereas little explicit research has been carried out on this topic. and (c) make scientiﬁc method intuitive.” In Hogarth (2006).g.). cultural capital) of their members. I conducted a study of what feedback people seek and receive from decisions in their daily lives. Related to this point is the notion that environments can be explicitly designed to facilitate intuitive processes.. The axioms underlying rational choice. 1997) in which they completed brief questionnaires in response to prompts made to their cellular telephones at random moments over a period of 1 or 2 weeks. This may seem like stating the obvious. I suggested seven guidelines for educating intuition. see Sadler-Smith and Burke (2009) and Sadler-Smith and Shefy (2007). The ﬁrst suggestion depends entirely on the power of automatic learning to form intuitions.e. The argument for the educability of intuition is based on the notion that intuition is largely the result of learning. These three guidelines differ in how active the participant needs to be in the educational process.HOGARTH suitability of axioms underlying mathematical systems or models of rational behavior. these and similar examples are all witnesses to what is now known as “choice architecture” (Thaler & Sunstein. I put forth the idea that intuition can be explicitly educated. to describe possible feedback. which almost by deﬁnition cannot be stable. We can really only talk normatively about this topic for intuitions that can subsequently be seen to be correct or incorrect. As previously noted. Respondents were required to describe the last decision they had taken (which clearly could have been quite trivial such as taking a coffee after lunch) and how they knew or would know that the decision was appropriate. Educating Intuition In my 2001 book. Indeed. the percentage of decisions where people received or expected to receive feedback was not high (60%).12 Second. educating intuition is similar to deﬁning the conditions that allow task-speciﬁc expertise to emerge. Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 348 . Of these. For applications in the area of medicine. First. people can recognize anomalies in the paths of moving objects if these are seen in dynamic. in medical diagnosis or some prediction task. that is.e.. intuition can be educated in the sense that judgments can become more accurate in speciﬁc domains. but it should be clear that many learning structures are such that feedback is either missing or misleading and that judgments are often implicitly evaluated by assuming that “no news is good news. Whereas these daily decision-making activities might seem removed from the types of tasks usually considered in research on intuitive processes. is whether learning in appropriately structured tasks leads to expertise that can transcend task presentation formats. 1992). That is. Thus. if experience is organized such that people learn the “right” lessons from their interactions with the world. one’s own cultural capital). The ﬁnal arbiter of such systems is the intuition of educated people. for example. the executives had to wait longer than students to receive feedback on their decisions. to subjective expected utility. Thus. I need to make a parenthetical comment. see Abernathy and Hamm (1994). I consider three to be particularly important. ﬁlms) but give incorrect answers when questions about the same phenomena are in the form of word puzzles (McCloskey. visual form (e. I believe that the results are illuminating because everyday decisions involve a mix of intuitive and deliberative 12 The types of decisions described by students and executives were very different as was the time horizon when feedback would become available. First. But whether one considers the outcomes of such education positively or negatively depends on personal taste (i. How much generalization occurs? What are the boundary conditions? The second important guideline is to seek feedback..g. Bayesian updating is considerably more accurate if the problem format highlights data in the form of natural frequencies as opposed to the usual probabilistic/verbal format. craftsmen.11 I believe that the basic principles outlined in Hogarth (2001) are still (tentatively) valid. it pays to seek and/or participate in environments that are kind in the sense of providing you with the appropriate experience (see also Shanteau. which recognizes the interaction between task structures and the natural or intuitive ways that people have of making judgments. have clearly evolved across time (e. In other words. in many cases respondents were incapable of stating what evidence they could see to validate their decisions. In general. managers. Eleven university students and 24 business executives participated in an experience sampling study (Hurlburt. There were two main results. More generally. In Hogarth (2001). They are (a) to select and/or create your environments. this approach is the basis of apprenticeships in many professions. then. however. for example. (b) seek feedback. What is not clear.
the need to train people to use both intuition and analysis in making decisions. The second is to develop hypotheses about which types of decision rules (or intuitions?) are likely to be successful in different environments and to test these ideas explicitly through simulated games. and assume that in crossing the ﬁeld there are various positive rewards that you can collect. whereas you might be able to see quite far in some cases. e. The point of this example is that many decisions that have an intuitive or emotional rationale may actually be dysfunctional because they inevitably ignore the fact that conditions can change. 2010). 2007). In science classes. 1987). As a speciﬁc example. & Cheng. As an example. too. we have greater difﬁculty with other topics such as how spending money today affects the savings we will need to ﬁnance our distant future selves. the British mountaineer George Mallory 349 . Nisbett. Fong.g. consider the well-documented inaccuracies in economic forecasts and particularly those that preceded the ﬁnancial crash of 2008. randomization. imagine a simulation model with the structural characteristics of foggy mineﬁelds.g. This can be used in at least two ways. people are taught how to reason using control groups. reliance on intuitive processes can prove dysfunctional. the person acquires a physical addiction. is that we cannot. FitzGerald. The outcomes of such investigations should be an appreciation for what “thinking strategies” or “intuitions” are suitable for environments we have not previously experienced. One is to observe how humans play such games. this is clearly the case. your ability to see where you are going is restricted—randomly— by the density of the fog so that. through deliberative processes. How then should one act? Clearly. an automatic response to a perceived need. in short. changing world 13 For some speculative suggestions concerning how one might use e-mail to enable such a process. and how successful they are (see. when the future differs signiﬁcantly from the past. Clearly. Following the lessons of decision making gleaned from static environments. Moreover.. Fortunately. e. Our sole resort is the human ability to imagine the possible consequences of different future worlds. using simulation models to stretch our imaginations and provide “experiences” of possible. across time. For many situations. However. Yet it is not clear that people can handle a future. These concerns all raise an important issue: How do we train people’s intuitions to handle situations with which they are not familiar? The answer. Moreover. The mines. 271–272). this is a goal that is already pursued by many educational programs. Broadbent. Moreover. pp. The general goal—as in life—is to get across the ﬁeld in good shape. Imagine a young adult who has acquired a liking for smoking such that the decision to smoke a cigarette on any particular occasion becomes an intuitive decision. rules are likely to be successful to the extent that there is some match between their characteristics and those of the environments in which they operate (Hogarth & Karelaia. for example. what the smoker does not realize at the outset is that smoking in later years carries a high cost in terms of negative consequences for health. for example. Slovic et al. And yet. But at the same time. whereas we can understand this kind of situation when discussing situations such as smoking or even the effects of certain diets. Is there any way then of using our intuitive capacities to help in the difﬁcult task of handling unknowable futures? Let me make one practical suggestion based on a metaphor (Hogarth. As to subtargets. what is not clear is how the acquisition of such principles generalizes to other types of inferential tasks that people meet in their lives (see. Lehman. that is. Moreover. the very act of smoking changes the situation in that. future worlds.. are distributed randomly around the ﬁeld and vary in how much damage they can inﬂict. see Hogarth (2001. 1986). they are going to vary considerably depending on the state of the fog when you make any particular commitment. the target cannot be precise—it’s just to get to the other side in the best possible condition. Decision Making in a Changing World Given that intuitive responses have been honed on past experiences. future-oriented intuitive actions can clearly be effective only to the extent that the future resembles the past. Just how well can we be trained to reason intuitively based on solid scientiﬁc principles?13 This point also relates to that made in the preceding section. In the foggy mineﬁeld. The metaphor is that decision making across the life-cycle is like traveling across a mineﬁeld in a fog. Consider.THE CHALLENGE OF INTUITION Downloaded By: [Consorci de Biblioteques Universitaries de Catalunya] At: 12:45 3 December 2010 processes. Concluding Comments When asked in 1924 why he wanted to climb Mount Everest. The third important guideline is to “make scientiﬁc method” intuitive. this may not be as hard as it ﬁrst seems because there are many technologies today that can help in this process. and so on. (2002) provided an interesting example with respect to the habit of smoking. & Broadbent. this process will be repeated happily many times over the coming years. there is no precise answer to this problem and our intuitions may not be helpful since we have never experienced such situations before. what kinds of rules they learn to adopt. the processes used in these everyday tasks are likely to be similar to those used in making more important decisions where there may be no relevant feedback from the past. namely. this is not going to be the general rule. However.
the explicit incorporation of automatic and nonconscious processes is illuminating in that it has greatly expanded the range of decision making phenomena studied (Weber & Johnson. there is a need to train people how to make use of intuitive abilities in a changing world. & Simon. M. Errors and omissions are. & Parker. Chicago. S. P. International review of industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. British Journal of Psychology. J. & Chapman. R. IL: The University of Chicago Press. M. Dual-process theories in social psychology. “Because it’s there. C. (1994). Darcia Narvaez.). Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27. J.. P. Note Address correspondence to Robin M. Judgment and Decision Making. 08005 Barcelona. G. & Hoch. H. G. Chichester. E. Hodgkinson & J. (1976). R. S. 73–79. one section of the article was devoted to considering different functions and varieties of intuition and welcomed work that is helping to deﬁne novel ways of classifying intuitive processes. 19. P. (1990). (1990). Organizational Behavior and Human Performance. attention to the intuitive dimension of thought could be especially instructive. Balthazard. I am indebted to several colleagues for 350 . Judgment in managerial decision making (6th ed. NY: Guilford. E. Camerer. Database models and managerial intuition: 50% model + 50% manager.. (1952). Surgical scripts: Master surgeons think about 43 common surgical problems. Bazerman... M. Perception in chess. 33–54. Myers–Briggs type indicator. It is present in almost all of our decision-making activities. & Pratt. J. Hoboken. & Morsella. Ford (Eds. Academy of Management Review. New York. 72.. this question is better framed by asking how both modes of thought can best be combined. and Cilia Witteman. 193–204. Bilali. A.). B.. Cognitive Psychology. F. Cognitive Psychology. F. P. Spain. The third raised the important issue that people can be active in educating their own intuitions—by. On the psychology of prediction: Whose is the fallacy? Cognition. & Hamm. NJ: Wiley. Hogarth. (Eds. (1986). 22. K. The fourth area recognizes that. Cohen. Y. 24. Department of Economics & Business. J. (1973). In this—as well as in previous work (Hogarth. M. Briggs. a broad view of intuitive processes has proved useful for linking different areas of psychological research in decision making (cf. because intuitions are based on past experience. New ﬁndings on unconscious versus conscious thought in decision making: Additional empirical data and meta-analysis. Danny Kahneman. Eugene Sadler-Smith. L. for example. (2007). G. H. The unconscious mind. Two of these were related to the notion of intuition as cultural capital and dealt with the evolution of preferences and moral judgments. General conditions for the success of bootstrapping models. Acker. Going forward. 2001)—I deﬁned intuition broadly as involving learned responses that are not the outcomes of deliberate processes. 32. & Myers. K. G. Among other outcomes. P. 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