Instinct vs. Intuition

Updated Jan 15, 2023

What are the differences between instinct and intuition?

Instinct is an innate behavior that is triggered by a stimulus, while intuition is a more complex form of understanding that involves a more abstract thought process. Instinct can be thought of as a kind of inborn knowledge or natural impulse, while intuition is more of an inner knowing or a feeling.

Example of instinct: The rabbit ran away instinctively when it heard the loud noise.

Example of intuition: She had a strong intuition that she was in the right place at the right time.

Why do people commonly confuse instinct and intuition?

People commonly confuse instinct and intuition because they are both internal processes that are difficult to prove or quantify. Instinct is an innate, automatic, and unconscious response to a situation or stimulus, while intuition is a gut feeling or instinctive understanding that is often difficult to explain. Instincts are often learned or inherited behaviors, whereas intuition is a non-rational decision-making process that is based on experience and knowledge. Both instinct and intuition are subjective, and can be difficult to differentiate from one another.

What are some ways to make sure you don't confuse instinct and intuition?

  1. Understand the difference between the two concepts. Instinct is an automatic response to a situation, while intuition is a feeling or thought that comes from within.

  2. Be mindful of the context of the sentence. If you’re discussing a person's response to a situation, it is likely an instinctive reaction and the sentence should reflect that.

  3. Pay attention to the words you use. Instinct and intuition have distinct connotations and will have different implications when used in a sentence.

  4. Re-read your sentences and ask yourself if the meaning is clear. If not, consider re-phrasing it to make sure your intended meaning is expressed accurately.

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