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Intuition: Its Powers and Perils (Yale Nota Bene) Paperback – April 10, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
With humor and warm disinterestedness, Myers, professor of psychology at Michigan's Hope College, marshals cognitive research on intuition, or "our capacity for direct knowledge, for immediate insight without observation or reason" or what is sometimes called ESP. He finds that the mind operates on two levels, "deliberate" and "automatic." The nondeliberate mode (aka the intuitive) can be an effective way of knowing and doing, helping us empathize with others, intuit social cues or perform rote tasks like driving cars. It can also lead us astray: illusory correlations, self-fulfilling prophecies, dramatic anomalies and other misleading heuristics may feel like direct perception, but are not. Statistically random events may appear to have patterns, but "random sequences are streaky." The book treats scientific method as an attractive intellectual tool and shuns "truth is personally constructed" evasions; it is thus delightfully readable and deliberately provocative.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Myers (psychology, Hope Coll.) presents here accessible research findings on intuition that are a welcome change from obscure self-help guides on the subject. He holds that people often rely on hunches without factoring in personal backgrounds, scientific fact, and unperceived influences, such as random streaks of occurrence, making those hunches less effective than we might think. Covered here are intuition's general strengths and weaknesses and its relationship to investment, psychotherapy, and employment settings. While some would argue that trying to gauge intuition is futile, Myers argues convincingly that we can measure how we arrive at a conclusion. By and large Myers is not making a case for intuition so much as for logic: he invites us to sharpen our insights and self-knowledge so that when impulse strikes, we can make sounder and less costly decisions. For the psychology sections of larger public libraries and academic libraries. Lisa Liquori, M.L.S., Syracuse, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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But far from being a well-defined mode of cognition, intuition has been a kind of catchphrase that is used to explain the ability to solve problems and reach goals without really knowing how. The apologists of intuition emphasize its ability to deal with issues and problems of a qualitative nature (the famous Einstein dictum that "not everything that counts can be counted"). In some extreme instances, enthusiasts of intuition think of it as a "power", the possession of which will give one distinct advantages, especially in the areas of business and finance. Indeed, there are the "intuitive" financial traders who boast of their abilities to foresee market trends that the "quants" cannot, and they do so without really quantifying just how much advantage their intuition has over more mathematical/algorithmic approaches to financial trading. Human intelligence in their view goes beyond mere logic, and can capture or "intuit" things that computational algorithms cannot. Business managers who make decisions based on their "gut feelings" are another example of the belief in the power of intuition. This reviewer knows of many instances where millions of dollars in revenue or capital expenditures have rested on the "gut feelings" of a senior manager, with disastrous consequences.
In this highly interesting work, the author discusses the pros and cons of intuition, and in doing so has given the reader an account of the subject that demystifies it and makes its contemplation and possible justification more palatable from a scientific point of view. That is not to say that the book is a scientific study for it is not, but it could be viewed as a precursor to such a study, which if done carefully would be extremely important and interesting. If there are elements of human (or for that matter nonhuman) intelligence that do not rely on logical or mathematical computations or processes, then the identification of these elements would assist those who are attempting to build non-biological thinking machines. A rigorous scientific study would isolate those patterns of thought and human actions that cannot be represented as a mathematical or algorithmic process and through laboratory investigations would justify how advantageous "intuition" is over more quantitative modes of thought. The field of cognitive neuroscience will no doubt shed even more light on the role of intuition as it advances in the decades ahead. If a book like this is written twenty years from now it might be considerably smaller in size, with only a few pages needed to discuss the role of intuition in problem solving since many more tasks will have been shown to be doable by machines. The trend seems to be in this direction.