Can intuition be taught? YES

Sandra Tice sandra.tice at MIPCORP.COM
Sun Aug 18 21:30:09 UTC 2013

Research has shown that intuition is not innate -- it is a learned skill,
which means that it can be taught to others.  It is automatic thinking that
has become a part of a physician's unconscious mind through years of
experience.  Automatic unconscious thinking is often called intuition or
wisdom - the expert clinical reasoning that is required to accurately
identify and correctly use relevant knowledge, information, data and cues
from tacit interactions to consistently make the right judgments and

Not only can intuition be taught but we have been capturing and documenting
it so that it can be read, learned, improved and quickly transferred to
others.  This has been tested in medicine by a physician with over 35 years
of experience in emergency medicine who transferred his intuition to
residents and medical students.  Within several days, they were diagnosing
patients as if they had many years of experience.  Their average diagnostic
accuracy immediately improved by roughly 20% and the time required to
accurately diagnose a patient dropped from over 1 hour to less than 5


Sandra Tice

Cognitive Scientist & Managing Partner
Direct Phone: 773-975-6555
MIP Corporation



From: Lorri Zipperer [mailto:Lorri at ZPM1.COM] 
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2013 2:06 PM
Subject: [IMPROVEDX] Can intuition be taught?


Forwarded by the moderator


From: Peggy Zuckerman [mailto:peggyzuckerman at] 
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2013 12:26 PM
To: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine; John Brush
Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] FM: Crowd Wisdom .... lack of dx error in the

Intuition is just that.  One can learn to respond to one's intuition,
usually by practicing doing just that.  Just asking, "Why does that still
worry me?  What am I not getting?" etc.  We as a species learned to avoid
being eaten by accepting that intuition, which is probably endless amounts
of data being processed in the background.

A great book to give a non-medical perspective this is "The Gift of Fear",
which reminds us that our fear responses are often overridden by our
socialized responses, leaving us vulnerable to danger.  We all have said
something to the effect, "I just knew something was wrong, and didn't
respond soon enough." This applies to avoiding the odd situation on the
street, as well as in the medical setting.

Peggy Zuckerman 

On Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM, John Brush <jebrush at> wrote:

There are others on this listserv, who are much more qualified than me to
answer the question: "Can intuition be taught?"
My two cents: I suspect that intuition is a form of intelligence that is
innate, but can be shaped, honed, improved, and recalibrated. Intuition is a
talent that can be developed through deliberate practice.
I also think that metacognition can be taught. The goal of education in any
domain should be to encourage students to be more thoughtful - to actively
and critically think about what they are doing. Students need a vocabulary
and some background to get them started, though. I think our goal should be
to make this educational process more explicit. What are the core
competencies of good medical reasoning, and how can we effectively,
reliably, and efficiently teach those competencies?

On Aug 16, 2013, at 9:08 AM, Graber, Mark wrote:

Garry's comments raise a very important and fundamental question in our
field that someone out there may know the answer to. If not, add it to the
growing list of research priorities:

In the traditional paradigm, the expert evolves from years of training and
experience, the 'right' education as Garry phrases it.  The expert becomes
so because they've made all the errors there are to make, or have seen them.
The opposing view is that we can shortcut this process if we teach
principles of metacognition, present all the cognitive biases and their
antidotes, and teach error prevention strategies.  Robin Hogarth has a book
"Educating Intuition" and Mark Quirk makes many of the same points in his
"Intuition and Metacognition in Medical Education."

The question boils down to whether you believe that you really CAN educate
intuition, or do you have to acquire it the 'old fashioned' way, through

Mark Graber




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