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Intuition can be explained July 3, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in science.
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from: Linkoping University


Intuition, or tacit knowledge, is difficult to measure, so it is often denigrated. A dissertation in education research shows that there is a neurobiological explanation for how experience-based knowledge is created.

“Can’t ‘splain sump’n to somebody who doesn’t understand it”; “my legs think faster than I do” (Swedish alpine skiing champion Ingemar Stenmark). “Skate where the puck´s going, not where it´s been” (Wayne Gretsky).

Lars-Erik Björklund uses these quotations in his dissertation to illustrate what we mean by intuition, tacit knowledge, hands-on knowledge, or practical wisdom.

“In studies from the 1980s on nurses, it was shown that those who had been in the profession for a long time saw more and made better judgments more quickly,” says Lars-Erik Björklund, who devoted his thesis to a review of research in various fields involving this knowledge.

The fact that people with long experience are often better at what they do, that practice makes perfect, is nothing new. But no good explanations have been put forward as to why this is the case.

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