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Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 13, 2023 ·  6 min read

Scientists Explain How Intuition May Be The Highest Form of Intelligence

Would you consider yourself an intuitive person? Someone who follows their gut instinct, which nearly always leads them down the right path? According to some researchers, intuition is not only a type of intelligence, but it actually might be the highest form. (1)

Intuition Is The Highest Form Of Intelligence

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, intuition is the ability to know or understand something quickly or immediately based on feeling rather than facts. There usually isn’t clear evidence any which way; you simply go with one because it feels right. (2)

We’ve all been there before – we’ve decided because something in our gut told us to. When asked later why we made that choice, we had no proper answer – we just knew. That is intuition.

Traditionally, trusting your instincts and going with your gut hasn’t been considered a form of intelligence. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development say that it should be. (1)

The institute’s director Gerd Gigerenzer believes in it so strongly that he wrote a book called Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious. He says that intuition is not just irrational, fly-by decision making. Rather, it is researching and gathering knowledge and trusting your instincts based on what you know to be true. Afterward, you test your instinctive thought, idea, or theory to see if you got it right. (1)

“In my scientific work, I have hunches. I can’t explain always why I think a certain path is the right way, but I need to trust it and go ahead. I also have the ability to check these hunches and find out what they are about. That’s the science part. Now, in private life, I rely on instinct. For instance, when I first met my wife, I didn’t do computations. Nor did she.” (1)

Intuition Plus Action Equals Intelligence

The researchers aren’t saying that someone who just makes every decision based on their gut without additional research or testing is Rhode Scholars. They say that those who use a combination of intuition, research, and testing will come out on top. If you only have the book smarts without any intuition, you won’t get very far.

“ If all you do is sit in a chair and trust your intuition, you are not exercising much intelligence. But if you take a deep dive into a subject and study numerous possibilities, you are exercising intelligence when your gut instinct tells you what is – and isn’t – important.” Bruce Kasanoff wrote for Forbes on the topic. (1)

Some people are naturally more intuitive than others. For those of us who aren’t, thankfully, intuition can be trained just like a muscle. (3)

8 Things To Improve Your Intuition

If you’re sitting there thinking, “I want to trust my instincts more, but I’m always so afraid that they’re wrong!” then you are not alone. Thankfully, you can take notes on a few things that highly intuitive people do and implement them into your own life.

From there, it’s just practice, practice, practice. It will be uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

1. Listen to Your Inner Voice

Everyone has gut feelings – yes, even you. The difference is some of us have learned to listen to them while others have not. Think about a time where you’ve been in a situation where there was no time to think; you just needed to act. That was your intuition talking. 

The challenge is learning how to use it when you do have time to think. As Gigerenzer said, this doesn’t mean ignoring scientific fact or rational thought. It means combining what you know with what you feel. (4)

2. Practice Mindfulness

If you’re having trouble connecting to your intuition, take time each day to sit alone with your thoughts. Meditate or simply sit and think. This will provide you with a quiet space to reconnect with the inner voice that you’ve been ignoring for so long. (4)

3. Do Something Creative

Creativity and instinct are highly connected. Art, music, and other creative pursuits are largely based on intuition and what feels right. Start working creativity into your day. Try a coloring book or start journaling. If you want to go bigger, join an improv group, take a painting class, or learn an instrument. All of these creative pursuits will help train you to go more with your gut. (4)

4. Be More Observant

When you’re out and about, pay more attention to what’s around you. Take time to look at a view and make observations about what you see. You can write them down if that’s helpful; just be as detailed as possible. Use as many senses as you can. (4)

This also applies to your own body. Pay attention to how your body feels and how it reacts to certain external stimuli. Connecting with how you feel physically and emotionally in various situations will help you reconnect with your inner voice, as well. (4)

5. Connect With Others

Take time actually to connect with others. This means to listen to them without trying to plan what you’re going to say next. Try to understand them on an emotional level, not just rational. Ask them questions about what they’re telling you, dig deeper, and truly get to know them. This will help you become more empathetic, and therefore more intuitive. (4)

6. Pay Attention To Your Dreams

Keep a journal by your bedside and if you have a dream, write down as many of the details as you can when you wake up before you forget them. From there, you can make connections between your subconscious and what’s happening in your life. Dreams often can provide a window into our own emotions and how we feel about a situation. They, too, can help you to reconnect with your inner self. (4)

7. Take Time For You

Life is busy, but if you are constantly running from one engagement to another, you don’t have proper time to slow down and listen to your inner voice. Remember, that voice is not loud. It will not shout to be heard over the craziness of your life. Carve out some time each day or each week where you can rest, recuperate, and tap into what your inner voice is trying to tell you. (4)

8. Let Go Of Negative Emotions

Strong, negative emotions cloud our judgment and can often trick our intuition. (4) I remember one time, after a particularly bad grade on a chemistry test in university, I was distraught. My dad helped me sit down and write an email to my professor, but he told me not to send it until the next day. 

In the morning, I re-read what I wrote when I was upset and definitely changed some things before sending the email. Why? Because the night before, my judgment was blinded by emotion. To truly listen to our instinct, we must be clear of mind. Do your best to push negative emotions away, and if you have time, take it. Let powerful emotions subside a bit (even powerful positive ones) before you make any decisions. (4)

Though learning to go with your gut takes time, it is certainly worth it. Start using some of the strategies above and you will be surprised at how much easier, clearer, and more accurate your decision-making skills become.

Keep Reading: Stephen Hawking’s Last Warnings To Humanity


  1. Intuition Is The Highest Form Of Intelligence.” Forbes. Bruce Kasanoff. February 21, 2017.
  2. Dictionary
  3. Intuition May be the Highest Form of Intelligence.” Science Times. Chardynne Joy H. Concio. June 19, 2019
  4. 10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently.” Huffington Post. March 19, 2014.