Intuition by Matching

It’s interesting that there are so many perspectives to consider a theory from. For instance, I started thinking about intuition (from the Mental Construction point of view). Here’s some bullet points reflecting the hops between the various lines of thought.


Intuition. Searching blindly

Intuition. Searching blindly

  • Intuition is the result of pattern matching, that is a partial match, not deduction. We see a pattern that is similar to a pattern we know. If the match between the current pattern and the remembered pattern is close enough, then we act as if the remembered pattern is enforced and consequences of the old pattern will follow the current situation.
  • What is close enough? It depends on the action of your genes on your neural processes, which I call the Almost Gate.
  • We use intuition (or insight or induction or common sense) very often, but intuition is not a logical process. It relies on similarities, not consequences.
  • But logic is always taken as the required justification of our actions.
  • Logic can do a lot. We can explain and justify many of our actions by applying deduction to our beliefs. But where do those beliefs come from?
  • Surely some of our beliefs are factual, but many more depend on associations that we apply. Those associations are more often than not dependent on the patterns we see and use to guide our thinking.


  • Wait, what about emotions? Are they are third manner in which we think? Kind of, but below the surface. Emotions arise in the limbic system, prior to the level of conscious thought. From there, they guide the path of our higher-level thoughts. Emotions underlie our thinking, both intuitive and deductive.
Mental Construction Model

Mental Construction Model

  • Non-verbal, quick, easy. Non-dominant hemisphere (term for half of cortex which does not control language or dominant hand).

Words and Logic

  • Uses words, slow, requires effort. Dominant hemisphere (typically the left, approximately 94% of the population)
  • The two hemispheres communicate regularly with each other, via the corpus callosum.
  • Thinking, when we are not in an extreme situation, can proceed in an iterative fashion, allowing each hemisphere to exchange its best assessment of the current situation, to the other hemisphere.

The Mental Construction site presents a structured buildup of these ideas in more depth, while allowing easily skipping to points of interest.

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