Should we worry that half of Americans trust their gut to tell them what’s true? – article analysis

Overview of article

A survey based on a study researching the effects of intuition and evidence on decision-making conducted in America shows that 1 in 7 people agree with the concept “I trust my gut to tell me what’s true and what’s not” whereas only 1 in 10 disagree. It has become apparent that people view intuition and presence of evidence as two very different things.

Many people’s beliefs and conceptions are influenced strongly by politics and if the matter at hand favours what they believe, regardless of scientific proof or data. However politics isn’t the only aspect of influence, there are others such as the ‘illusory truth affect’ in which a person tends to believe something the more they hear it said. Alongside this there is also the idea of adding a visual which can stimulate either certainty or suspicion.

The study compared the difference in value between intuition and evidence and it was concluded that those who rely on intuition are more likely to support the idea of conspiracy theories whereas those who rely on evidence will focus on more accurately made ideas about politics and global issues. This having been said, there are some more positives aspects of using intuition to make decisions such as sometimes intuition is right and those who don’t use it can often make poor decisions. There are some who value both intuition and evidence and those who disregard them both so it’s entirely dependant on the person. Basically, those who tend to do a little extra research to back up any hunches they may have tend to come out with more accurate conclusions and this may be why their beliefs tend to be more accurate due to this extra effort to check the facts. Overall, intuition matters less than evidence, the study claims.

But why is evidence said to be more important? “The bigger the role evidence plays in shaping a person’s beliefs, the more accurate that person tends to be.” It’s said that those who have a greater scientific curiosity tend to have more accurate beliefs whereas saying something as simple as “think carefully” could impact someone’s ideas and lead them to become biased. However it isn’t yet clear why curiosity and attention to the evidence leads to better outcomes, while being knowledgeable and thinking carefully promote bias.


I think that both intuition and evidence play vital roles in the decision someone decides to make or what they decide to believe, but that ultimately physical and backed-up evidence would always make something more reliable for me. However as explored, there are many different opinions on this and each person’s views on any particular subject are different.




TOK initial impressions

Before this year I didn’t know that TOK was an aspect of the IB course in terms of something we’d be graded on so wasn’t really sure what to expect in my first lesson or if it would be as intense as those which are more academic. Having had a few lessons now, I’m beginning to get more of an idea of what it’s about and I think it’s quite a good element to have built in to the course.

I’m quite enjoying the fact that we have a lot of group discussions and group tasks as it’s nice to know how other people view things and what opinions they have.  We’ve been working primarily on ways of knowing and I didn’t really realise there were eight so I guess that’s one aspect of the course which has already broadened my knowledge. It’s interesting to discover how others in the class think compared to my own thoughts and how differently others may view something I may have perceived as only having one answer.

At first I was thinking that I didn’t choose philosophy so how come I’m still being made to do it but having had these first few lessons, I’m realising that although some aspects of philosophy are built in, TOK has a completely different purpose. I think it’s good that it’s compulsory because it could be viewed as some light relief during a very busy IB week (not to say you don’t need to work because a lot of thought and interaction is required) but it’s an nice element of the course in the sense that we can reflect on both what we do and don’t know and what others around us think and believe. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the course.