Intuition

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Teresa B
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Intuition

Post by Teresa B » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:11 pm

Hi all, I took the liberty of quoting pizza and starting a new thread, because I think his point is interesting and shouldn't be lost in that silly "evolution" thread.
pizza wrote:...some sciences are also dependent upon intuition and accidental discovery. Some med schools now include courses in intuitive medicine.

See the following interesting links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... d=10596073

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... t=Abstract
This is the theme of Gladwell's book "Blink"--a discussion of how people are able to take in a sort of gestalt and size up a situation very quickly. This is the intuitive process that occurs frequently in Medicine, as well as any other profession.

I agree with the links above; intuition is a sort of emergent property that comes from long experience and study of your particular field. I would have virtually no intuitive ability if asked to look at art and tell which is a fake; but given a brief visit with a couple of patients, if I were asked to predict which patient would likely respond quickly to some treatment and which would not, I would have a pretty good shot at being right.

Intuitive Medicine is half the battle, and I don't foresee it getting lost without a special school curriculum. In fact, teaching "intuition" may be pointless, as young, inexperienced practitioners can't possibly use intuition that isn't there yet! They have to rely more on their fund of knowledge and logic--but as they gain experience they automatically develop intuitive ability. Obviously some become better at it than others, just as some become better at any other skill.

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

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Re: Intuition

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:26 pm

Teresa B wrote: Obviously some become better at it than others, just as some become better at any other skill.

Teresa
Which is why you and I are such masterly interpreters of Chopin. :)

In the first place, "accidental discovery" (serendipity--a real phenomenon with many documented important instances) is not the same as "scientific intuition," which frankly is almost a contradiction in terms (ever heard of the Skeptical Inquirer?). Even within the concept of "intuition" there are at least two possible interpretations: One arrives at a conclusion because of cognitive processes that are not immediately recollectable to consciousness or easily reported to another, but which are still based on trained intellect, which is what I imagine Teresa is referring to, or one makes a lucky guess and it turns out right, something that will happen in a portion of cases anyway and only does not seem the random thing it is because it is the right guess that gets everyone's attention.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:36 pm

People are experts at bullshitting themselves. That's why intution needs to be subordinated to empirical methods

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Post by Werner » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:37 pm

Aren't you telling us that Medicine is as much art as science, Teresa?
Werner Isler

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Re: Intuition

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:52 pm

Without science, intuition is just mental masturbation.
Image

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Post by piston » Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:58 pm

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” A.E.

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:13 pm

Please, have the intuition backed by evidence. Medical intuitions have killed a lot of folk down the ages. My own mother is dying from the medical treatment she received decades ago, from very nice doctors with the best of intentions and years of practice.

Wasn't it Alexander the Great who lamented the fact that he was dying thanks to the aid of too many physicians?

Teresa B
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Post by Teresa B » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:41 pm

Brendan wrote:Please, have the intuition backed by evidence. Medical intuitions have killed a lot of folk down the ages. My own mother is dying from the medical treatment she received decades ago, from very nice doctors with the best of intentions and years of practice.

Wasn't it Alexander the Great who lamented the fact that he was dying thanks to the aid of too many physicians?
It would indeed be the height of arrogance and stupidity not to have one's intuition backed up by real evidence. I am terribly sorry to hear about your mother. (BTW, my own mom almost died from a medical error, so you have my deep sympathy.)

When I spoke of intuitive medicine, I meant a feeling you get immediately, and not even necessarily by conscious reasoning (yes, Werner, the art, exactly!). When you get an impression, you wouldn't act on it without first doing a careful history and physical exam, and running whatever tests are necessary.

And surely intuition can be wrong! (That's exactly why you seek empirical evidence.)

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

Agnes Selby
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Re: Intuition

Post by Agnes Selby » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:44 pm

Teresa B wrote:Hi all, I took the liberty of quoting pizza and starting a new thread, because I think his point is interesting and shouldn't be lost in that silly "evolution" thread.
pizza wrote:...some sciences are also dependent upon intuition and accidental discovery. Some med schools now include courses in intuitive medicine.

See the following interesting links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... d=10596073

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... t=Abstract
This is the theme of Gladwell's book "Blink"--a discussion of how people are able to take in a sort of gestalt and size up a situation very quickly. This is the intuitive process that occurs frequently in Medicine, as well as any other profession.

I agree with the links above; intuition is a sort of emergent property that comes from long experience and study of your particular field. I would have virtually no intuitive ability if asked to look at art and tell which is a fake; but given a brief visit with a couple of patients, if I were asked to predict which patient would likely respond quickly to some treatment and which would not, I would have a pretty good shot at being right.

Intuitive Medicine is half the battle, and I don't foresee it getting lost without a special school curriculum. In fact, teaching "intuition" may be pointless, as young, inexperienced practitioners can't possibly use intuition that isn't there yet! They have to rely more on their fund of knowledge and logic--but as they gain experience they automatically develop intuitive ability. Obviously some become better at it than others, just as some become better at any other skill.

Teresa
----------------

I agree with you, Teresa. Teaching intuition is pointless because how can it be taught? Intuition, for the lack of a better word, is instinct. It is as much part of us as is fear. Many escapees during World War II relied on their intuition who to trust and who to avoid, which road of escape to take and which road to avoid. Intuition plays a part in many war-time stories.

Can it be relied on in medicine? I think not. I would rather rely on the doctor's qualifications and scientific examinations than on a doctor's intuition.

Intuition can be observed in animal behaviour. I hope I will not be crucified on these pages when I say that intuition is our inheritance
from the early days of our animal ancestry.

Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:56 pm

Teresa B wrote:
Brendan wrote:Please, have the intuition backed by evidence. Medical intuitions have killed a lot of folk down the ages. My own mother is dying from the medical treatment she received decades ago, from very nice doctors with the best of intentions and years of practice.

Wasn't it Alexander the Great who lamented the fact that he was dying thanks to the aid of too many physicians?
It would indeed be the height of arrogance and stupidity not to have one's intuition backed up by real evidence. I am terribly sorry to hear about your mother. (BTW, my own mom almost died from a medical error, so you have my deep sympathy.)

When I spoke of intuitive medicine, I meant a feeling you get immediately, and not even necessarily by conscious reasoning (yes, Werner, the art, exactly!). When you get an impression, you wouldn't act on it without first doing a careful history and physical exam, and running whatever tests are necessary.

And surely intuition can be wrong! (That's exactly why you seek empirical evidence.)

Teresa
I am certainly not going to posit that a doctor with accumulated experience has no subconscious mechanisms for prognosis. I work in IT comms, and hate moving to a new network. Once I've worked on a network for a few years, one gets a 'feel' for it. A weird error will pop up in Copenhagen and I'll reboot a router in Hong Kong (once error confimation has occurred!). Going through the full diagnostic process on a multi-layered international network from first principles is what I do when my "intuition" fails me.

I don't trust "intuition" from folk who don't have such an accumulation of experience, however. A doctor with years of experience having an intuition about a condition may have a different intuition from my Aunty the herbal-remedy nut.

So that error confimation is essential. Using the less personally painful metaphor, if I reboot that router in Hong Kong needlessly, not only will it not solve the error it was meant to, it may well cause others. We are intuitive creatures, but need to curb our enthusiasms with careful thought and independent verification.
Last edited by Brendan on Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Teresa B
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Re: Intuition

Post by Teresa B » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:57 pm

Agnes Selby wrote: I agree with you, Teresa. Teaching intuition is pointless because how can it be taught? Intuition, for the lack of a better word, is instinct. It is as much part of us as is fear. Many escapees during World War II relied on their intuition who to trust and who to avoid, which road of escape to take and which road to avoid. Intuition plays a part in many war-time stories.

Can it be relied on in medicine? I think not. I would rather rely on the doctor's qualifications and scientific examinations than on a doctor's intuition.

Intuition can be observed in animal behaviour. I hope I will not be crucified on these pages when I say that intuition is our inheritance
from the early days of our animal ancestry.

Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------
Thanks for a thoughtful reply, Agnes! I think the intuition you bring up is yet another facet of the human mind--perhaps not just the "intuition" built from years of studying something, but a "knowledge" based on the deepest part of the brain (the limbic system), carried down from our ancestors. This may well come into play in situations like the ones you describe.

All the best,
Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

Teresa B
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Post by Teresa B » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:58 pm

Brendan wrote:I don;t trust "intuition" from folk who don't have such an accumulation of experience, however. A doctor with years of experience having an intuition about a condition may have a different intuition from my Aunty the herbal-remedy nut.

So that error confimation is essential. Using the less personally painful metaphor, if I reboot that router in Hong Kong needlessly, not only will it not solve the error it was meant to, it may well cause others. We are intuitive creatures, but need to curb our enthusiasms with careful thought and independent verification.
Exactly!
Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

Author of the novel "Creating Will"

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Post by Ralph » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:13 pm

Intuition is often the refinement of experience melded with knowledge. It is a skill, an art, independent of a measurable intelligence. Those with open minds who are not afraid to accept new data and explore side roads are often inuitively gifted.
Image

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Albert Einstein

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Post by pizza » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:06 am

Brendan wrote:
Teresa B wrote:
Brendan wrote:Please, have the intuition backed by evidence. Medical intuitions have killed a lot of folk down the ages. My own mother is dying from the medical treatment she received decades ago, from very nice doctors with the best of intentions and years of practice.

Wasn't it Alexander the Great who lamented the fact that he was dying thanks to the aid of too many physicians?
It would indeed be the height of arrogance and stupidity not to have one's intuition backed up by real evidence. I am terribly sorry to hear about your mother. (BTW, my own mom almost died from a medical error, so you have my deep sympathy.)

When I spoke of intuitive medicine, I meant a feeling you get immediately, and not even necessarily by conscious reasoning (yes, Werner, the art, exactly!). When you get an impression, you wouldn't act on it without first doing a careful history and physical exam, and running whatever tests are necessary.

And surely intuition can be wrong! (That's exactly why you seek empirical evidence.)

Teresa
I am certainly not going to posit that a doctor with accumulated experience has no subconscious mechanisms for prognosis. I work in IT comms, and hate moving to a new network. Once I've worked on a network for a few years, one gets a 'feel' for it. A weird error will pop up in Copenhagen and I'll reboot a router in Hong Kong (once error confimation has occurred!). Going through the full diagnostic process on a multi-layered international network from first principles is what I do when my "intuition" fails me.

I don't trust "intuition" from folk who don't have such an accumulation of experience, however. A doctor with years of experience having an intuition about a condition may have a different intuition from my Aunty the herbal-remedy nut.

So that error confimation is essential. Using the less personally painful metaphor, if I reboot that router in Hong Kong needlessly, not only will it not solve the error it was meant to, it may well cause others. We are intuitive creatures, but need to curb our enthusiasms with careful thought and independent verification.
There are often situations where the professional must act immediately without having the luxury of independent verification available. ER doctors can attest to that. Lawyers are also sometimes thrust into situations where they are required to act without the benefit of preparation. It isn't a question of undue enthusiasm. It can be a matter of emergent necessity.

I think med schools are correct in teaching intuitive methodology.

Teresa B
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Post by Teresa B » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:19 am

pizza wrote: There are often situations where the professional must act immediately without having the luxury of independent verification available. ER doctors can attest to that. Lawyers are also sometimes thrust into situations where they are required to act without the benefit of preparation. It isn't a question of undue enthusiasm. It can be a matter of emergent necessity.

I think med schools are correct in teaching intuitive methodology.
I wouldn't disagree--the very reason these ER docs, or lawyers, can come up with the best action based on a very fast sizing up, I think, is based on past experience. An experienced ER pediatrician, for example, may be able to "intuit" when a child is in the early stages of meningitis vs just coming down with the flu--a crucial moment, as even an hour of delay in treatment can be fatal. That physician has seen so many children, he can add up the subtle signs that something is not right even before he is conscious of it.

Of course tests must be run! But in an emergency, rapid diagnosis is obviously vital. There's nothing wrong with teaching students that intuition should not be ignored, and can be life-saving, but in the beginning, a student does not have much of it! (Maybe the teaching of "Get an attending physician, pronto" is best taught first. :) )

Teresa
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." ~ The Cheshire Cat

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Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:04 am

It's easy but wrong to confuse intuition with a response based upon experience. Lawyers do not often have to act without time for preparation. In some instances, for example an arraignment of a criminal defendant the attorney has met just before the proceeding, there is little opportunity for investigation much less research. Experience in evaluating what facts are available will often lead to the best outcome for the client. Intuition isn't a factor.

Where intuition is relevant to law practice is sizing up a client or adversary's character and attributes based on little knowledge or evidence and proceeding based on those "feelings."
Image

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Diagnosis

Post by Agnes Selby » Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:14 pm

Teresa B wrote:
pizza wrote: There are often situations where the professional must act immediately without having the luxury of independent verification available. ER doctors can attest to that. Lawyers are also sometimes thrust into situations where they are required to act without the benefit of preparation. It isn't a question of undue enthusiasm. It can be a matter of emergent necessity.

I think med schools are correct in teaching intuitive methodology.
I wouldn't disagree--the very reason these ER docs, or lawyers, can come up with the best action based on a very fast sizing up, I think, is based on past experience. An experienced ER pediatrician, for example, may be able to "intuit" when a child is in the early stages of meningitis vs just coming down with the flu--a crucial moment, as even an hour of delay in treatment can be fatal. That physician has seen so many children, he can add up the subtle signs that something is not right even before he is conscious of it.

Of course tests must be run! But in an emergency, rapid diagnosis is obviously vital. There's nothing wrong with teaching students that intuition should not be ignored, and can be life-saving, but in the beginning, a student does not have much of it! (Maybe the teaching of "Get an attending physician, pronto" is best taught first. :) )

Teresa
-----------------

Dear Teresa,

I agree. What you describe is a good diagnostician whose training and experience allows him to make the right decisions.

My dictionary describes intuition thus: "direct perception of truths, facts, etc., independently of any REASONING PROCESS".
-----


Dear Reblem,

The above is bad for patients and an excellent future revenue for lawyers. "Peter's" intuitive process may well be different from "Paul's". I would like to see the text book that unites all intuitive processes into and acceptable scientific tool.



Regards,
Agnes.

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Post by pizza » Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:17 pm

Ralph wrote:It's easy but wrong to confuse intuition with a response based upon experience. Lawyers do not often have to act without time for preparation. In some instances, for example an arraignment of a criminal defendant the attorney has met just before the proceeding, there is little opportunity for investigation much less research. Experience in evaluating what facts are available will often lead to the best outcome for the client. Intuition isn't a factor.

Where intuition is relevant to law practice is sizing up a client or adversary's character and attributes based on little knowledge or evidence and proceeding based on those "feelings."
Every trial lawyer uses his intuition when making the decision whether to accept or reject a prospective juror, regardless of the information contained on his card or his responses to the voire dire examination.

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Post by Evelyn Laden » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:23 pm

Working as an editor of one or another journal, we would receive solicited and unsolicited manuscripts - medical, nursing, or otherwise health-related. On the first reading, even without being totally familiar with the topic discussed, I always had an intuitive feeling whether the manuscript in question had substance, could be edited to be publishable, or wasn't likely to survive careful editorial queries. Quite often, if not always, I could even tell if some of it was plagiarized from somewhere else. This was possible by having kept abreast of the literature or just being suspicious, based on sentence structure and general presentation.
So how many levels is intuition above an educated guess? I was rarely wrong in such initial assessments, but unlike emergency medicine, didn't cause death or permanent damage if I was wrong. There were always second readings, also by others, to confirm initial impressions. I don't recall grave editorial injustices being committed based on these initial judgments. However, I do recall several instances of grave injustice threatened by irate authors feeling that their precious prose had been violated during the editing. My "intuition" in such a case was to tell the receptionist that if anyone came and asked for me, especially if male, tall, and previously unannounced, to tell that person I was out of town.

Teresa B
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Post by Teresa B » Sat Apr 14, 2007 6:35 pm

Evelyn Laden wrote: However, I do recall several instances of grave injustice threatened by irate authors feeling that their precious prose had been violated during the editing. My "intuition" in such a case was to tell the receptionist that if anyone came and asked for me, especially if male, tall, and previously unannounced, to tell that person I was out of town.
:lol: Even if he was tall dark and handsome??

Teresa

Seriously, good points, Evelyn.
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Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 14, 2007 11:00 pm

pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:It's easy but wrong to confuse intuition with a response based upon experience. Lawyers do not often have to act without time for preparation. In some instances, for example an arraignment of a criminal defendant the attorney has met just before the proceeding, there is little opportunity for investigation much less research. Experience in evaluating what facts are available will often lead to the best outcome for the client. Intuition isn't a factor.

Where intuition is relevant to law practice is sizing up a client or adversary's character and attributes based on little knowledge or evidence and proceeding based on those "feelings."
Every trial lawyer uses his intuition when making the decision whether to accept or reject a prospective juror, regardless of the information contained on his card or his responses to the voire dire examination.
*****

I don't think we're disagreeing - I just see that "intuition" as experience translated into a decision. Novice trial lawyers often make mistakes in either using or not using a challenge. Lawyers like us make fewer mistakes because something about a prospective juror rings alarms or, alternately, makes us want him/her.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:42 pm

pizza wrote:
Brendan wrote:
Teresa B wrote:
Brendan wrote:Please, have the intuition backed by evidence. Medical intuitions have killed a lot of folk down the ages. My own mother is dying from the medical treatment she received decades ago, from very nice doctors with the best of intentions and years of practice.

Wasn't it Alexander the Great who lamented the fact that he was dying thanks to the aid of too many physicians?
It would indeed be the height of arrogance and stupidity not to have one's intuition backed up by real evidence. I am terribly sorry to hear about your mother. (BTW, my own mom almost died from a medical error, so you have my deep sympathy.)

When I spoke of intuitive medicine, I meant a feeling you get immediately, and not even necessarily by conscious reasoning (yes, Werner, the art, exactly!). When you get an impression, you wouldn't act on it without first doing a careful history and physical exam, and running whatever tests are necessary.

And surely intuition can be wrong! (That's exactly why you seek empirical evidence.)

Teresa
I am certainly not going to posit that a doctor with accumulated experience has no subconscious mechanisms for prognosis. I work in IT comms, and hate moving to a new network. Once I've worked on a network for a few years, one gets a 'feel' for it. A weird error will pop up in Copenhagen and I'll reboot a router in Hong Kong (once error confimation has occurred!). Going through the full diagnostic process on a multi-layered international network from first principles is what I do when my "intuition" fails me.

I don't trust "intuition" from folk who don't have such an accumulation of experience, however. A doctor with years of experience having an intuition about a condition may have a different intuition from my Aunty the herbal-remedy nut.

So that error confimation is essential. Using the less personally painful metaphor, if I reboot that router in Hong Kong needlessly, not only will it not solve the error it was meant to, it may well cause others. We are intuitive creatures, but need to curb our enthusiasms with careful thought and independent verification.
There are often situations where the professional must act immediately without having the luxury of independent verification available. ER doctors can attest to that. Lawyers are also sometimes thrust into situations where they are required to act without the benefit of preparation. It isn't a question of undue enthusiasm. It can be a matter of emergent necessity.

I think med schools are correct in teaching intuitive methodology.
Most ER doctors, lawyers and IT network folk have standard procedures the organization or industry has accumulated over time they fall back on during emergencies with no information available. That's also when you want the most experienced people on deck with their intuition engaged. In such circumstances, cleaning up after the emergency fix can take days, weeks or months, even when it works.

And I've seen some emergency fixes destroy networks (malpractice suits anyone?), and lawyers are just a joke how badly they destroy lives without a care or thought based on their feelings concerning a client.

More independent verification, please.

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