TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

Can we train our intuition to be more effective at solving problems?

Seventeen years ago I wrote an article called, "Communal Blind Spot Theory". In that article it was my experience that in every discipline I have studied there are collective oversights i.e. communal blind spots.

Think of an individual blind spot as you not seeing a glass of water on the kitchen counter in plain sight. Now imagine 1000 people going into the kitchen not seeing that glass of water on the counter.

Can we train our intuition to see through those blind spots?

We speak of a woman's intuitiion. What do we mean? Do we mean a woman feeling uneasy about entering an elevator with a single man inside? Do we mean a brilliant research scientist who has a strong "gut" reaction about one aspect of her studies? Clearly these are two entirely different aspects of a "woman's intuition".

Here is a cook book recipe to use intuition as a research tool. It is argued here that an intuitive view of reality is every bit as valid as a logical and factual view of reality. Thus it is only when my intuition agrees with the facts and logic that I view this as useful knowledge.

Here is how it works in practice. Suppose I have a strong gut reaction that a particular enzyme impacts on a specific gene and this results in an elevated rate of breast cancer. I test this hypothesis and get a null result but my gut tells me that the results are not consistent with my intuition.

Do I walk away from my intuition? According to my theories, no. You run the experiment weeks or months later to try to confirm the earlier results. If you get a null result, then you walk away for another few months. Next time you tweak the experiment say changing the temperature or PH slightly and run the experiment again. If you get a null result yet your intuition remains fixed, you tweak the experiment again.

Clearly this is not possible in the real world; if you were to run the same experiments again and again with null results you won't get funding, but it is critical to finding paradigm shifts.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 18 2012: Our brain is a super computer, which is always on and active and keep researching. In fact every human being is a researcher. And so are women . Women too are researchers

    Once they have a cursory glance at the stranger they get the vibes and can sense that what type of person he or she may be or is.

    The answer lies in their nature of easily mixing and mingling with others. They can build relationships easily, or you can say they have good networking skills.

    To establish the relationship between the networking skills and intuition, let us travel back in time and go back to the beginning of the civilization when the human life started its journey on this planet earth.

    In the good old times when people used to live in caves, during those days men used to go out to hunt for food. While they were busy in their business of hunting animals , back home the women looked after the kids . In their spare times when they would have freed themselves from looking after the kids , women used to interact and communicate with their neighbors. This way they had a good interaction with the other people including grown up kids of others.

    This direct interaction with others fed their brains with loads of information about each individual in detail. And their brain did the processing of the information at a lightening speed.

    In fact their brain helped them discover and develop new knowledge, which further helped them to develop and boost their intuitive power.

    Now, whenever they came across any stranger, their highly developed intuitive power helped them receive vibes about the stranger being interacted. This whole process helped them to sense the nature of the stranger.

    In the modern age too, women can mix and mingle with others easily. Their nature of easy interaction with others and the relationship building process is evident in their behavior. This is as valid as This is as valid as it was in the ancient times.

    more details visit santokhsaggu@blogspot.in
    • Nov 18 2012: Social skills developed out of necessity but, as I indicated, women also have more than just intuition in social skills e.g. many female scientists have a strong intutive feel for their research---just as many men do as well.

      What is unclear is just what role socialization took in taking mates. Was there a dominant male such as occurs in certain primates like gorillas or was there pair bonding i.e. couples as opposed to a tribe?

      It will be interesting to see if the 20 female Senators we elected can work together!

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.