'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

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Sushan
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'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the January 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, Emotional Intelligence At Work: A Personal Operating System for Career Success by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt

If instinct tells you to be suspicious, listen and proceed carefully until trust and credibility are earned.
(Location 288 of Kindle version)

People take various decisions and perform various actions, of which the reason behind is hard to understand. If you ask about that from them, many of them will say it was their 'gut feeling', or their instincts. I am pretty sure that many of us have felt such 'gut feelings' in various situations.

Is it a reliable aid to use in critical decision making? Or is it a way of surfacing our hidden fears, which will ultimately hinder us from taking risky but correct decisions?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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LuckyR
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: January 8th, 2022, 1:12 am This topic is about the January 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, Emotional Intelligence At Work: A Personal Operating System for Career Success by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt

If instinct tells you to be suspicious, listen and proceed carefully until trust and credibility are earned.
(Location 288 of Kindle version)

People take various decisions and perform various actions, of which the reason behind is hard to understand. If you ask about that from them, many of them will say it was their 'gut feeling', or their instincts. I am pretty sure that many of us have felt such 'gut feelings' in various situations.

Is it a reliable aid to use in critical decision making? Or is it a way of surfacing our hidden fears, which will ultimately hinder us from taking risky but correct decisions?
Gut feeling is a label for unconscious pattern recognition. You draw a conclusion without consciously going through the logical thought process to come to the conclusion. More often than not the conclusion is correct. How can this be? Over a long time of observation we all detect patterns of perception then we observe the outcome when we see the pattern. Our subconscious mind associates the two. Later, like Pavlov's dogs, when we hear the bell we conclude food is on the way without consciously going through the steps to figure out why.

When the hairs on the back of your neck raise when a particular person gets on the elevator, get off immediately!
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Those with with learning and experience benefit far more from gut feelings than people who lack the experience and learning.

I would suggest that we use "gut feelings" from more frequently that you might think.
For example when you drive a car you can arrive at a destination having thought about the anything other than the act of driving. Your body via your experience does all the work for you without ever having made a conscious effort.
A painist does not have to think about the location of any keys on the board. An experienced pianist simply looks at the manuscript and his fingers know where to go.
I think a gut feeling - that solution that presents itself to you without a formal logical and reasonable process can be the right one just so long as you are experienced in the area of the decision.

However - and this is a big however. The gut feeling you get when you think a person is guilty of something, can be the most misdirected and dangerously wrong feeling.
Having gut feelings about a person on first meeting - taking an instant dislike to a person because of their appearance is never to be trusted. For it matters not a jot how many other people you have met that look like this one, you simply cannot tell a book by its cover.
Last edited by Sculptor1 on January 8th, 2022, 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by JackDaydream »

@Sushan
Gut feelings may be an important aspect of thinking, especially in the moment, in making judgements. However, the interpretation of events goes beyond spontaneity and the immediate. So, it may be about whether gut feelings can be backed up and consolidated, with the means of investigation rather than humans being swept along by unconscious processes and what the psychoanalysists described as primitive emotions, especially fear and hostility.

As this thread is about work, one aspect which may be important is the ideas of Menzies on anxiety within organisations. This writer spoke of how unconscious processes, especially anxiety, are present in day to day routines which seek to keep this anxiety at bay. When I was working in an organisation in health care, I was aware of this aspect and how people were reacting to gut emotions of incidents of critical concern, but there was so much that was not discussed openly, as expressed in the psychoanalytical idea of ' the nameless dread'. So, while gut feelings, especially in work organisations, are such an important undercurrent it could be asked whether it is worth evaluating these feelings as a way of making the unconscious more conscious and, as a means of establishing the basis of reliability and truth underlying the primal gut emotions.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Neil Wallace »

Sushan wrote: January 8th, 2022, 1:12 am
Is it a reliable aid to use in critical decision making? Or is it a way of surfacing our hidden fears, which will ultimately hinder us from taking risky but correct decisions?
Problem is instinct seems to have been derived on the proverbial Savannah of millions of years ago. Instinct in my opinion is often a decidedly poor aid that overrides rationality in the digital age where once there were evolutionary benefits to it in a more physical form of life.
Examples being : instinctive choice of mates according to now fairly redundant ferility charactaristics, or physical strength
Instinctive distrust of differnce - skin tones, other tribes, religious beliefs etc.
Instinctive Gender + Age assumptions
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by LuckyR »

Sculptor1 wrote: January 8th, 2022, 10:12 am Those with with learning and experience benefit far more from gut feelings than people who lack the experience and learning.

I would suggest that we use "gut feelings" from more frequently that you might think.
For example when you drive a car you can arrive at a destination having thought about the anything other than the act of driving. Your body via your experience does all the work for you without ever having made a conscious effort.
A painist does not have to think about the location of any keys on the board. An experienced pianist simply looks at the manuscript and his fingers know where to go.
I think a gut feeling - that solution that presents itself to you without a formal logical and reasonable process can be the right one just so long as you are experienced in the area of the decision.

However - and this is a big however. The gut feeling you get when you think a person is guilty of something, can be the most misdirected and dangerously wrong feeling.
Having gut feelings about a person on first meeting - taking an instant dislike to a person because of their appearance is never to be trusted. For it matters not a jot how many other people you have met that look like this one, you simply cannot tell a book by its cover.
Actually you can tell a book by it's cover, it's just that you can only do it large minority of the time. This is wholly inadequate if you are in charge of hiring, it is completely reasonable if it makes you get off an elevator when you're a woman alone and you get that freeling when someone gets on.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by EricPH »

Life is not risk free, but we have to do something.

We will fail at times, we will get things wrong, but we have to do things with no guarantees of success.

Gut feelings often come at a point when we have to do something with the incomplete knowledge we have.

Of course we wont have to worry about gut feelings if we think, what we can put off today, we can put off tomorrow.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Sculptor1 »

LuckyR wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:48 am
Sculptor1 wrote: January 8th, 2022, 10:12 am Those with with learning and experience benefit far more from gut feelings than people who lack the experience and learning.

I would suggest that we use "gut feelings" from more frequently that you might think.
For example when you drive a car you can arrive at a destination having thought about the anything other than the act of driving. Your body via your experience does all the work for you without ever having made a conscious effort.
A painist does not have to think about the location of any keys on the board. An experienced pianist simply looks at the manuscript and his fingers know where to go.
I think a gut feeling - that solution that presents itself to you without a formal logical and reasonable process can be the right one just so long as you are experienced in the area of the decision.

However - and this is a big however. The gut feeling you get when you think a person is guilty of something, can be the most misdirected and dangerously wrong feeling.
Having gut feelings about a person on first meeting - taking an instant dislike to a person because of their appearance is never to be trusted. For it matters not a jot how many other people you have met that look like this one, you simply cannot tell a book by its cover.
Actually you can tell a book by it's cover, it's just that you can only do it large minority of the time. This is wholly inadequate if you are in charge of hiring, it is completely reasonable if it makes you get off an elevator when you're a woman alone and you get that freeling when someone gets on.
I think my point is that there are areas of human endeavour where experience and study enhances the gut feeling. But no amount of judging other people from their look can guarentee or even improve your prejudice about other people.
We just had a young couple move next door. They are both covered from head to toe in tattoos. THe guy is about 6'2" and about 4' wide with a beard and his wife has a multicoloured hairdo. The whole neighbourhood is in shock. But as each person, significantly dog owners (they couple has two), meets them they are all shocked by how nice this couple is. My view is that most neighbours will never approach them at all. Whatever they might find, their experience of them good or bad will not inform them the next time they encounter another inked up couple.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Terrapin Station »

My gut feeling tells me that no, it can't be taken to be reliable.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by anonymous66 »

I take the author to be reminding us that there are people out there who can cause us problems. Those same people often give us signals that we pick up on as a vague feeling of unease - or some other "gut feeling".

For instance - Chapter 3 - Veronica and Tony (p.11). Veronica "had an uneasy feeling" when she first met Tony - "her intuition was flashing red lights". Tony won her over with his tales of accomplishment and a series of phone conferences with high-profile business people. I take it that the author is suggesting that Veronica made a mistake in that instead of vetting Tony thoroughly (for example, by privately asking those high-profile clients what they thought of Tony) she went ahead and took him on as a client and waived her monthly retainer (she worked for him for free because she was promised a "performance fee").
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by CalebB »

In social psychology they study gut feeling. This reminds me of books like Influence by Robert Cialdini, in which he explains that there are techniques one can use to manipulate people into complying with you. People like to be consistent with themselves. People like to reciprocate when receiving something. People look for social proof when considering a sale.

When we're unaware of what instinct in compelling us, it feels like a "gut feeling".
The purpose of life is to experience all things desired.

Transformative Awakening - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09Q68K86X/
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by LuckyR »

Sculptor1 wrote: January 9th, 2022, 7:58 am
LuckyR wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:48 am
Sculptor1 wrote: January 8th, 2022, 10:12 am Those with with learning and experience benefit far more from gut feelings than people who lack the experience and learning.

I would suggest that we use "gut feelings" from more frequently that you might think.
For example when you drive a car you can arrive at a destination having thought about the anything other than the act of driving. Your body via your experience does all the work for you without ever having made a conscious effort.
A painist does not have to think about the location of any keys on the board. An experienced pianist simply looks at the manuscript and his fingers know where to go.
I think a gut feeling - that solution that presents itself to you without a formal logical and reasonable process can be the right one just so long as you are experienced in the area of the decision.

However - and this is a big however. The gut feeling you get when you think a person is guilty of something, can be the most misdirected and dangerously wrong feeling.
Having gut feelings about a person on first meeting - taking an instant dislike to a person because of their appearance is never to be trusted. For it matters not a jot how many other people you have met that look like this one, you simply cannot tell a book by its cover.
Actually you can tell a book by it's cover, it's just that you can only do it large minority of the time. This is wholly inadequate if you are in charge of hiring, it is completely reasonable if it makes you get off an elevator when you're a woman alone and you get that freeling when someone gets on.
I think my point is that there are areas of human endeavour where experience and study enhances the gut feeling. But no amount of judging other people from their look can guarentee or even improve your prejudice about other people.
We just had a young couple move next door. They are both covered from head to toe in tattoos. THe guy is about 6'2" and about 4' wide with a beard and his wife has a multicoloured hairdo. The whole neighbourhood is in shock. But as each person, significantly dog owners (they couple has two), meets them they are all shocked by how nice this couple is. My view is that most neighbours will never approach them at all. Whatever they might find, their experience of them good or bad will not inform them the next time they encounter another inked up couple.
True, yet off topic. Prejudice is not the same as gut feeling. Gut feelings are conclusions without a known logical basis behind them. If I don't trust folks with tattoos because they have a reputation in my group for being antisocial or I personally had a negative interaction with a tatted up guy, that's a prejudice. A gut feeling would be an otherwise "normal" appearing guy who gives you the creeps. What is happening is your subconscious mind has detected a series of cues beyond your conscious mind's current notice (perhaps due to distraction).
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Sculptor1 »

LuckyR wrote: January 14th, 2022, 1:38 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: January 9th, 2022, 7:58 am
LuckyR wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:48 am
Sculptor1 wrote: January 8th, 2022, 10:12 am Those with with learning and experience benefit far more from gut feelings than people who lack the experience and learning.

I would suggest that we use "gut feelings" from more frequently that you might think.
For example when you drive a car you can arrive at a destination having thought about the anything other than the act of driving. Your body via your experience does all the work for you without ever having made a conscious effort.
A painist does not have to think about the location of any keys on the board. An experienced pianist simply looks at the manuscript and his fingers know where to go.
I think a gut feeling - that solution that presents itself to you without a formal logical and reasonable process can be the right one just so long as you are experienced in the area of the decision.

However - and this is a big however. The gut feeling you get when you think a person is guilty of something, can be the most misdirected and dangerously wrong feeling.
Having gut feelings about a person on first meeting - taking an instant dislike to a person because of their appearance is never to be trusted. For it matters not a jot how many other people you have met that look like this one, you simply cannot tell a book by its cover.
Actually you can tell a book by it's cover, it's just that you can only do it large minority of the time. This is wholly inadequate if you are in charge of hiring, it is completely reasonable if it makes you get off an elevator when you're a woman alone and you get that freeling when someone gets on.
I think my point is that there are areas of human endeavour where experience and study enhances the gut feeling. But no amount of judging other people from their look can guarentee or even improve your prejudice about other people.
We just had a young couple move next door. They are both covered from head to toe in tattoos. THe guy is about 6'2" and about 4' wide with a beard and his wife has a multicoloured hairdo. The whole neighbourhood is in shock. But as each person, significantly dog owners (they couple has two), meets them they are all shocked by how nice this couple is. My view is that most neighbours will never approach them at all. Whatever they might find, their experience of them good or bad will not inform them the next time they encounter another inked up couple.
True, yet off topic. Prejudice is not the same as gut feeling. Gut feelings are conclusions without a known logical basis behind them. If I don't trust folks with tattoos because they have a reputation in my group for being antisocial or I personally had a negative interaction with a tatted up guy, that's a prejudice. A gut feeling would be an otherwise "normal" appearing guy who gives you the creeps. What is happening is your subconscious mind has detected a series of cues beyond your conscious mind's current notice (perhaps due to distraction).
No, this is perfectly on topic. Prejudice is exactly a gut feeling.
Prejudice can be conscious and unconscious.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by Karpel Tunnel »

Terrapin Station wrote: January 9th, 2022, 8:20 am My gut feeling tells me that no, it can't be taken to be reliable.
LOL

I would say, it depends. It depends on the person, their experiences
and how reliable their gut feelings have been (in that area) before.

We all rely on gut feelings for all sorts of things, even when we 'think' we have reasoned enough on a topic or our sense of the semantic scope of a word.
,
Some poker players are great at reading other players. Some detectives. Some...experts in any category.

Some people have perfect pitch, some don't. Genetics experiences repeated practice....

it depends. But to rule out having gut feelings one can count on, that's off the mark.
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Re: 'Gut Feeling', is it reliable?

Post by mystery »

a gut feeling about intent is likely on target. a gut feeling about some action, not as reliable because the other person has also to process and decide.

a gut feeling together with some circumstantial evidence is usually reliable.
--

on the elevator example, you feel threatened by the presence of the other person according to your gut and you also notice they have blood on the shoes.
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