Synthesizing decades of work, in 2018 Lois Isenman published her pioneering book, Understanding Intuition: A Journey In and Out of Science (Academic Press/Elsevier, 2018), the most compellingly comprehensive book on the science of human intuition now available. In our talk we discuss various perspectives on intuitive experience which feature in her text--chaos theory and emergent phenomena, brain laterality, metacognition, and more. We also explore the role of intuition in Lois' scientific practice, notably her "blink of the eye" experience and the "intercellular dance" she encountered during an early serendipitous study. With the broader struggles of contemporary society in mind, we also speak to the relationship of intuition to spirituality and crisis-navigation, which Lois addresses in greater detail in the closing chapter of her book. For anyone interested in the science of intuition or in the intuitions of scientists, this talk offers unforeseen treasures.
Lois Isenman received her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of California, San Francisco in 1980. She worked for many years as a researcher in Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley and at Harvard and Tufts Universities. During this time, she became aware that her cognitive style had a strong tendency toward intuition. She soon became deeply interested in exploring the nature of intuition as well as its role in scientific endeavor. As a Science Fellow at the former Bunting Insitute of Radcliffe College in 1994-1995, she began having some striking intuitive experiences about intuition itself. A few years later she began researching intuition full time as a Resident Scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center of Brandeis University. Her work synthesizes the most up-to-date cognitive science on intuition and brings it into conversation with significant first-person intuitive experience as well as broader cultural perspectives on spirituality and the nature of truth.
Explore more: Understanding Intuition: A Journey In and Out of Science