Intuitive Intelligence Comes of Age

by Caron B. Goode

Intuition is what your brain knows how to do when you leave it alone.
Dr. Paul MacLean, former Chief of Brain
Evolution, National Institute of Mental Health, 1988

Renaissance for Intuitive Intelligence

In today's world, we focus on the child's natural core genius. Intuitive intelligence is part of children's core genius. This natural intelligence can grow into a unique talent. Children with intuitive intelligences are ready to take their place in the world. Our job is to assist them

Intuitive intelligence is an essential part of the human mind, which includes our conscious processes and unconscious processes—thought perception, emotion, will, memory, and imagination. Intuitive intelligence involves nurturing self-awareness of the inner world, the outer world, and the connection between them.

Recognition for the intuitive mind with its way of discovery and knowing has advanced significantly in the last decades.

What started with Carl Jung's concept that people have four primary paths for processing information has evolved into the intricacies of brain mapping in the field of neuroscience. We know how we learn, which part of the brain is involved and how to reprogram patterns that don't work through the concept of neuroplasticity.

The renaissance of intuitive intelligence has arrived. Let's trace the progress of intuition over the last several decades as it made its way into mainstream thought and awareness. Only recently has western, modern society accepted and found intuitive intelligence useful.

Breakthroughs in Understanding the Brain

A significant breakthrough in 1972 involved Dr. Roger Sperry, who differentiated the specific functions of the left-brain and the right brain. His groundbreaking work earned him the Nobel Prize and gave a physical basis to the ability to work with images, intuition, and holistic thinking in the right brain hemisphere. Human capacity was explored and brain research provided a biological foundation for intuitive intelligence and thinking.

Further brain research in the 1970s by Dr. Paul MacLean introduced the idea of human brains developing along an evolutionary tract.

We don't have one brain; we have a series of interconnected sub-brains, the "triune brain."

Each sub-brain displays its own form of intelligence, motor functions, sense of time and specialized tasks.

  1. Reptilian brain is the brain stem, so named because it includes structures of a reptile brain and developed five hundred million years ago. It governs vital survival activities like our breathing, heart rate, body temperature and balance. This brain also gives us the basis for instinct, which we can separate from intuition as people confuse human instinct with intuitive intelligence.

  2. The limbic brain grew in small mammals about one hundred and fifty million years ago. It governs emotional states, produces emotional memory patterns, which assign values based on cultural and relational influences. This brain developed in response to increasingly complex relationships in mammals.

  3. The human neocortex expanded the brain capacity several million years ago and contains the two brain hemispheres. Brain functions included abstract thought, language, and consciousness. Human capacity for learning has grown into the cultures we experience today.

The reptilian brain processes instinctual responses that include the gut brain. Intuition has roots in the gut brain but is processed in the emotional brain, or the limbic system. The neocortex is the thinking brain, choosing information we should listen to and act on from the reservoir of our memory.

Intuitive intelligence involves the interplay between the limbic system and the neocortex. The right hemisphere has richer neural connections to the limbic system than does the left, and it draws information and perceptions from time and space. This is how we make sense of our world.

So how do we make sense of intuitive intelligence within our left-brain culture?

Our logical mind addresses stable patterns, snapshots of reality stored in our memory banks, for the practical living. The holistic or holographic side of our reality, intuitive intelligence comes from within. By focusing our attention on how intuition presents, we act from deeper understanding.
Here is the story of how intuitive intelligence has along with the advances in brain science and information processing.

Gardner Expands The Single IQ Myth

In 1983, a Harvard Education professor, Howard Gardner, proposed a theory of seven intelligences to explain a broad range of human aptitudes. Gardner has defined intelligence as "the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting."1 The definition implied that intelligence is based on its utility and value within its culture.

This major breakthrough in education and psychology moved educators beyond the single intellectual quotient—IQ. The concept of intelligence expanded to value children's talents in broader areas.

In the following list of Gardner's intelligences, schools value linguistics and logic. The arts and sports value spatiality, physical skills and musical skills. And the interpersonal skills and intrapersonal awareness underlie emotional ability, social skills and natural intuition.
Gardner's Seven Intelligences:

  1. Linguistic intelligence -- smart use of words
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence -- gifted use of number reasoning
  3. Spatial intelligence -- sharp use of visuals and pictures
  4. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence -- able use of body and physical talents
  5. Musical intelligence -- gifted use of lyrics, melodies and rhythms
  6. Interpersonal intelligence -- empathic ability with social skills and ability to know and read others
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence -- competent awareness of inner feelings and self-reflection

In Gardner's model, the natural intuitive intelligence can be viewed in interpersonal skills like empathy, intrapersonal skills like self-awareness or naturalist intelligence.

Intelligence is broader and more flexible than past educationalists and psychologists have assumed.

Goleman and EQ

In 1995, when Emotional Intelligence hit the bookstores, the establishment woke up to value of their limbic systems. For example, popularity for a high emotional quotient (EQ) gained value over intellectual prowess in the workplace and in schools. Intuition became a competency, one of the emotional intelligence skills.

Intuitive intelligence, viewed in its own right, is broader than can be defined by emotional intelligence. As Dr. Robert Flower, author of The Exceptional Mind (2008) and founder of the Gilchrist Institute explained, "Emotions are your feelings, and intuitions are your sensing. Emotions will lie to you and intuitions are more valid, but we don't trust them fully. My research confirms that trusting intuitive intelligence correlates with less emotional issues."
Like any of the natural intelligences, intuition is a vast continuum and a variety of expressions from artistry to psychic skills.

Intuitive Intelligences

Intuitive intelligence stands as an entity deserving recognition. Brain mapping using EEG topography found that creativity and intuition are associated with theta waves usually linked with daydreaming or fantasizing. Theta waves are calm states in which intellectual activity at the conscious level isn’t occurring. Children and adults with ADHD produce excessive theta waves.
Intuitive intelligence operates on gestalts or whole pieces of information and functions from our memory, not logic. Intuitive ability is finally recognized as the fuel behind innovation, creative thinking, inspiration and psychic experiences.

Let's clarify terms:
Intuitive intelligence: A system of processing information from a gestalt that arrives spontaneously, beyond intellectually known information or evident thought. Every human has an intuitive processing system. Like any intelligence, different people will have varying degrees of strength.

Intuition: A talent or ability to grasp or understand spontaneous perception, feeling or information. This talent would be a strength of the intuitive intelligence range.

We are discussing children whose intuitive intelligence manifests in different ways along a continuum of normal skills to gifted talents:

• Children who learn through feelings and process information kinesthetically. (Intuitive learning mode)

• Children who are creative and artistic and intuition drives their motivation. (Artistic drive for exploring and creating)

• Children whose intuitive intelligence is like a radar reading other people and understanding them. (Empathy and interpersonal skills)

• Children who have intuitive episodes like dreams or a flash of creative insight. (Deep insight, precognition)

• Children who are psychic. (Awareness of non-physical worlds through all senses or a specific sense.)

Intuition is the common denominator of these talents and, all children have the same intuitive capacities. Like musical prodigies and math geniuses, children display their talents differently.

Intuitive children with highly tuned sensory perceptions display their gifts in what our cultures might think are unconventional ways. For example, how many parents are ready to believe that their children see ghosts or who, at a young age, have an entrepreneurial idea that could be successful?

Education, parenting and psychology professionals recognize that children have multiple intelligences, and intuitive intelligence is the new kid on the block. All intelligences exist on a continuum of normal to gifted. There are math prodigies, musical geniuses and intuitive psychics.

The traits for intuitive intelligence cluster into several groups: The children of today stretch and challenge our learning. Parents of intuitive children need first to commit to the role of parent. We have to direct expressions of inventive and creative thoughts, help empaths deal with emotional overwhelm and establish resilience, face fears of ghosts.

Children with intuitive intelligence, challenged by cultural systems which do not know how to connect with or teach them, need permission to follow their personal path and optimize their talent. We can give that permission and model it for them by developing our intuitive parenting. We also need to become intuitive parents.

Our truest parenting success is the feeling of resonance with our child, the connection of hearts, the meeting of minds—congruence.

1. Gardner, H., & Hatch, T. (1989). Multiple intelligences go to school: Educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences. Educational Researcher, 18(8), 4-9

Dr. Caron Goode is gifted with compassion in assisting others to effect lasting transformation through spiritual coaching, books, classes and seminars. Caron's continuous education, experience in psychology and professional writing makes her a great resource for parents wishing to create and maintain a nurturing relationship their children. She has positioned the Academy for Coaching Parents International at the forefront of the parent coaching movement to disseminate the coaching model of empowerment for parents. Her newest book is Raising Intuitive Children.

© Dr. Caron Goode. Permission to republish granted by Diana Bourgeois.