The Failure of Intuition

Going Wrong
Intuitive Learning - The Results
The Failure of Intuition
The Monster Study and Intuition
Success, Failure, and the Need to Succeed
Free Will and Randomness
Occam's Razor
PEMDAS - And Other Atrocities
Math Lessons
For Further Reading

What Happens When Intuition Fails?

If intuition is primarily the rsult of consolidating all prior experiences, then intuition is bound to fail.  Our experiences, while ever growing, are nonetheless insignificant when measured against all the things that can happen to us.

Larry learned to ride a bicycle on dry pavement.
The road was being repaired at an intersection on the road Larry took.  The intersection had not yet been re-paved and the space was covered with dirt, gravel and sand.
Taking the corner at his usual rate-of-speed, Larry lost control of his bicycle, fell and skinned his knee.

This is failure of intuition.
So what happens next?  There are a number of possibilities.

Auto-correction is the best of all possibilities.
Larry thinks about what has happened and his intuition tells him that it is most likely that the difference in the biking surface was probably responsible for the accident.  He makes a note to himself and rides on.
The next time Larry is riding on a dirt road, he experiences a mild tension (his intuition's way of keeping him alert and learning).
When he turns on this surface, he slows down considerably in advance, negotiates the turn slowly, and speeds up gradually after the turn.
Over time, his concentration on what he is doing diminishes.  Eventually, he negotiates the turns at a higher rate of speed -- though not as fast as on pavement -- and he pays scant attention to the process.  Indeed, at the end of the ride, Larry will not remember any of his decisions about how he negotiated the road.

Dodging the Issue
In this scenario, Larry is confused when he has his accident.  It just doesn't make sense.
Larry decides to give up riding the bicycle.
From now on, every time Larry hears someone suggest riding a bicycle, his stomach clenches ... and he says he has other things to do.
This, too, is a new intuition.

Misinterpretation of the Data
Larry thinks about what has happened and decides that he must have been distracted by the fire truck parked on the cross street.
He determines to be more attentive to his riding in the future.  Which is what he does, although over time his attentiveness diminishes.
Eventually, Larry will encounter another change in surface and be given another opportunity to form a better intution.

= 0 = 0 =
Each of the above strategies can be expressed differently:  Self-equilibration, Denial, Recursive Correction, Superstition, Scientific Analysis.
These labels are each valuable in that they point to an area of understanding through a particular lens.
The lens I like best at this moment is from mathematics.  It is the world of convergent/divergent behavior.

In the present situation, converging behavior would be the gradual improvement of an intuition, growing ever closer to an ideal, until such time as the intuitive response is good enough.
What is wonderful, however, about intuition is that over and over researchers have found that for the observant or engaged mind, intuition keeps developing.  As long as the mind can see the difference between the ideal and what it already can do, it will persist at getting better.
It does this without being forced to it.
In fact, it does it best when it isn't being forced to do it.  Improvement appears to be the result of observation and the lack of pressure.

Is improvement actually hampered by pressure?
Yes, often.
How badly?  Read about the Monster Study.

The Monster Study