Decisions: Roles of Intuition and Cognition
In terms of the decision-making process, intuition occurs before cognition. The important practical implication of this process is this: if we don’t grasp the underlying emotions and how intuition is driving a decision or action, then we really don’t understand it. Thus, behind every single decision or action, there will be an emotion or a collection of emotions driving it.
An excellent illustrator of the connection between intuition and cognition is radar. Let the appearance of something on radar represent intuition and the actual sighting of it be cognition. The key implication of this metaphor is that intuition comes before cognition in our entire decision-making process. The movement of something from radar to an actual sighting represents the movement of feelings into thoughts and finally into decisions and actions.
The diagram to the right expresses this relationship. Moving from left to right, intuition processes our emotions which are typically a collection of feelings. Our emotions create our desires, wants and needs. Through these intuition gives our cognition direction. This direction allows cognition to create thoughts. Using techniques such as reason and logic, through cognition a collection of thoughts coalesce into a rationale. These rationales form the expressible, concrete foundation of our decisions and actions.
In short, this decision-making process transforms our vague, generalized emotions into concrete decisions and actions. An excellent metaphor is the igniting of gasoline. Without the concrete form of an engine and car, this event is a potentially harmful explosion. With that form, the event becomes a transformative tool in our lives. Similarly, without the techniques and tools to express ourselves, our emotions lack a practicality that will allow us to enhance our lives. In some cases, they might even harm ourselves and others.