On the speed of intuition: Intuitive judgments of semantic coherence under different response deadlines

Abstract

Intuition is the ability to judge stimulus properties on the basis of information that is activated in memory but not consciously retrieved. We investigated one central feature of intuitive judgments— namely, their speed. Participants judged whether or not three clue words were coherent in the sense that they were weakly associated with a common fourth concept. To restrict the time available for conscious deliberation of possible solution words, participants had to synchronize their judgments with a response signal appearing at different lags after the clue words. In two experiments, participants discriminated coherent and incoherent triads reliably better than chance, even when they did not consciously retrieve the solution word and the lag between clue words and response signal was as short as 1.5 sec. Results indicate that intuitive judgments can indeed be made very fast and without extended conscious deliberation. Possible mechanisms underlying intuitive judgments are discussed.

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Correspondence to Annette Bolte.

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Bolte, A., Goschke, T. On the speed of intuition: Intuitive judgments of semantic coherence under different response deadlines. Memory & Cognition 33, 1248–1255 (2005). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193226

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Keywords

  • Response Signal
  • False Alarm Rate
  • Chance Level
  • Solution Concept
  • Intuitive Judgment