#47 from R&D Innovator Volume 2, Number 7          July 1993

A Test For Intuition
Daniel Cappon, M.D.

Dr. Cappon is a physician in psychological medicine and Professor of Environmental Studies at York University, Ontario, Canada.  He wrote a book, Intuition (Bedford House Press, 1991), and developed a board game based on his Intuition Quotient Test. www.informedliving.com

What follows is the heart of a protracted endeavor to demythologize intuition.  Compared with conscious reasoning, intuition is the older and greater capacity of human intelligence and is the secret of success in most human endeavors.  (See my, "Intuition from Instinct," R&D Innovator, Vol. 2, No. 2.)  There are two reasons for this work.  The first is to wrestle this gift of human intelligence out of the grasp of metaphysics and parapsychology and place it firmly where it belongs:  in scientific psychology.  The second is to develop tools by which intuition can better be used.

I’ve been looking for measurable tests to compare intuitive capacity, just as various tests compare Intelligence Quotients.  I want to develop an assessment for intuition, the Intuition Quotient (IQ2).  Although a highly intuitive person will have a high IQ2 overall, certain intuitives will have a cluster or an individual skill score higher than other intuitives. 

The test is in its early phase, and must be validated, modified and continually improved.  While this initial foray into measuring intuitive capacity will be far from perfect, it’s a step we must take to learn more about such an important human quality.  Certainly, effective scientists and technologists have a well-developed intuition.  Can it be further improved?  Can others improve their intuitive capacities?

The Capacity for Intuition

I define the capacity for intuition in terms of some skills:  half are passive “input” skills—and half are active “output” skills.  These skills test the ability to access intuition.  When this capacity is activated, the resulting process of intuition helps determine behavior. 

These skills can be enumerated in a hierarchical order from perceptual to cognitive, and thence to the higher levels of skills like foresight, hindsight, and decision making.

The skills tested by IQ2 include:

A.  Input

  Quick eyes and seeing through things—like spotting danger in an eye-blink and seeing hazard through fog.

  Finding things fast—like finding a familiar face in a group photo.

  Seeing the big picture—by looking at its fragments.

  Estimating time, dimensions, or weight—without the use of tools or machines.

  Knowing what you never realized that you know—like understanding words from a foreign language.

  Passive imagination—measured by the number and frequency of images coming to mind.

B.  Output

  Foresight—anticipation of an event.

  Hindsight—understanding the cause of something without having all the details. 

  Having a hunch—the initial and likely answer to a problem.

  Knowing the best way to reach a solution.

  Knowing the best application of a discovery.

  Knowing the best time to intervene—in the stock market, for example.

  Knowing the meaning of things—like the significance of a symbol.

  Having an active imagination—images readily come to mind when stimulated by objects or a picture.

  Having skill at sorting—what does and does not go together.  

The IQ2 is meant to measure all these skills in both an aggregated total and a disaggregated (by cluster or skill) numerical score.  The instrument is ultimately meant to yield a reliable and valid measure of intuitive intelligence.  True intuitives are only credible in the area of a person’s experience and expertise.

Because we see objects rapidly and because imagery is information economically packaged, the test is totally visual.  A laser video shows 350 pictures on a screen.  Because the IQ2 tests the oldest and most central part of intelligence, it asks all the fundamental questions in a language (what, how, when, etc.); the objects shown represent the universe of familiar objects (animate and inanimate).  The types of questions are basic to everyday life and survival, primitive or archetypal—like the discovery of fire, shelter, the use of food and medicines.

To score, the pictures are shown in sequence which gives progressively more clues about the answer.  For instance, the first picture in a series might show a devastated area with hills above a valley, and ask:  What did this?  The picture was of an actual scene after a volcanic explosion.  The choices to the IQ2 test taker are:  logging, forest fire, diseased trees, volcano, or chemicals.  The next two pictures provide incremental clues, and last shows an atomic-like explosion as from a volcano.  The person who “knew” that the volcano was the cause from the first picture would score four, the person who realized the correct answer from the clue in the next picture would get three, and so on.  Anyone who missed after all the clues would score zero. 

Possible Value of IQ2

Now that several hundred people have taken the test, it is being validated experimentally, at first against people’s self assessment and other’s assessments as high, average or low intuitives and who have a similar range of success at work and at home.  The final validation will be against a normative population seen by themselves and others as varying in intuition and also measured against the measures of success I am currently devising.

A validated IQ2  would help answer such questions as:  Does everyone have intuition?  Do women have more than men?  How do you tell the difference between a lucky guess and good intuition? 

Ultimately, I intend to work on the metrics of success with individuals, groups, and organizations.  I’ll define success in several ways.  For instance, in private or work life, in the individual or an organization.  Criteria for success include efficiency, productivity, profitability, effectiveness, satisfaction, and health. I’ll try to relate IQ2 data to professional success and to determine the relationship of success to IQ scores and IQ2 scores. 

The obvious application for this work lies in human resources, measuring the effects of intuition training and maximizing the application of intelligence to all its vital functions for a person or an organization.  These applications include decision-making in science, technology, business, and the arts, as well as in everyday life.

Unless the scientific validation of measurement applies a stamp of approval to intuition, this jewel in the crown of intelligence will not play its necessary role in a world where life is becoming more difficult and where planetary survival is truly at risk.  That’s why I'm devoting so much effort to the test and its validation.

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