Your Intuition is Your Brain Doing Subconscious Pattern Recognition

I’ve lately been thinking a lot about the cognitive processes that form our intuition. I’ve found some interesting research on the psychology of intuition and the new methods that researchers are developing to measure intuition. There is a healthy body of literature on the psychology of intuition, but recently a tweet from Adam Grant probably summarized the concept in the most concise way possible. According to Grant, “Intuition is subconscious pattern recognition.”

Grant’s observation is compelling because it tells us that we should pay attention to our intuition because in all likelihood it’s our brain making connections that still cannot articulate. Grant encourages us to be more self-introspective to recognize when our intuition informs our decisions. The idea is that by surfacing what our intuition is “telling us,” we can draw causal relationships and make conscious choices about what is already happening in our sub-conscious.