Inside Intuition

Can you trust your gut instincts? A BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Inside Intuition’ offers to address the issue. It’s on this friday – that’s the 17th August – at 11am. Those of you busy or outside of the UK, check the BBC’s fantastic Listen Again pages during the week after broadcast.

BBC Press release here and below the fold, for your convenience.

BBC RADIO 4 Friday 17 August 2007
Inside Intuition
Friday 17 August
11.00-11.30am BBC RADIO 4

People often rely on intuition to make important decisions ‚Äì from buying a house to choosing a partner. Gut feelings are integral to many people’s personal and professional lives ‚Äì judges and jurors, clinicians, sportsmen, estate agents, managers, scientists and stockbrokers all use intuition to judge what is right, who to trust and what to do.

However, neuroscientist Dr Mark Lythgoe is sceptical about intuition. “People can’t really tell you what it is ‚Äì it’s a feeling, an instinct, a hunch. But would we want our boss, our doctor or our politicians to make decisions which affected us based on a hunch?”

This programme is Mark’s personal quest to get “Inside Intuition” and discover whether it is a real phenomenon or a popular myth.

Mark is joined by “The Food Sleuth”, a local restaurant critic, at Bingham Farmer’s Market to take part in a jam-tasting experiment to see whether gut instinct wins over analytical reasoning when judging the best jam.

One area in which humans often excel at using their intuition is reading other people. Mark goes speed-dating to test this and, with the help of psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, he discovers how long it has taken the single ladies to decide what to make of him.

However, it’s not all good news for our powers of intuition, as statistician and “decision-making expert” Professor Tony O’Hagan, from the University of Sheffield, points out: our gut feelings can often be spectacularly wrong as minds are easily swayed by false cues, badly judged probabilities and the fallibility of memories.

Presenter/Dr Mark Lythgoe, Producer/Michelle Martin

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