Since intuition has many subtle dimensions, it is an elusive subject. This page summarizes the many perspectives for defining intuition. In spite of the challenge, interest in this theme has risen steadily in recent years both among the general public and many professional groups.

In particular, this interest is widespread among practitioners. Recent studies show that most business leaders recognize the importance of intuition. World wide over 60% of managers report they use intuition as much as if not more than rationality in business dealings.

Perspectives on Intuition

The publication "Discovering and Understanding Intuition" reviews popular and academic writings on the nature of intuitive experience. That paper, which can be found on the author's publications webpage, approaches the various ideas about intuition in terms of five perspectives which are highlighted here:

1. Process
The process view describes intuition by inferring how it takes place. As an example, Herbert Simon speaks of intuition as "analyses frozen into habit."
2. Contrasts
Some contrast intuition by distinguishing it from processes that are complementary. The dictionary contrasts intuition with reason and inference.
3. Names
Others identify intuition by names. Daniel Cappon lists popular names such as hunch, gut feeling, answers that come and flash of ideas.
4. Levels
Some classify intuition into levels of awareness. Frances Vaughan suggests four levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
5. Attributes
Finally, some characterize intuition by enumerating its attributes. The dictionary notes qualities such as direct, certain, immediate and innate.

Combining all five perspectives offers a comprehensive framework for understanding intuitive experience. This multi perspective approach retains more of the subtle qualities of intuitive knowing than typical definitions. The intuition journaling method presented elsewhere on this site uses this framework to ensure a thorough exploration of the subtle dimensions of an intuitive experience.