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Is the power of intuition overrated?

Much has been written in the last 10 years about intuition, especially expert intuition. What’s so fascinating about intuition, of course, is the idea that one’s mind may work on a problem without one being aware of it, says cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?”. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink was largely devoted to this phenomenon. Other books — e.g., Tim Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves and Danny Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow — have summarized some of the research showing that such unconscious cognition occurs, but Gladwell differed in suggesting that at times we’d be better off relying on intuition than in thinking. Some researchers — most consistently Gerd Gigerenzer at the Max Planck institute, but others, including Kahneman at times — suggest that advice might be sound. A recent study, however, suggests you’re better off thinking. A group of researchers at Florida State and University of Leuven (Moxley et al, 2012) presented expert chess players with complex chess positions and varied the amount of time players were allowed to deliberate before they had to pick a move. The question was whether players benefited from more time…

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