Intuition and flow

Lauri Järvilehto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Intuition is the capacity to make decisions and create new ideas without conscious deliberation. Flow is the optimal experience where action becomes automatic and conscious thought seems to meld together with the action itself. Both intuition and flow concern our capacity to cognition and action without heavy input from reflective and conscious cognitive mechanisms. Dual process theories of cognition offer a compelling position to explain the functioning of both intuition and flow. In the dual process theories of cognition, two separate cognitive systems are suggested: the non-conscious System 1 and the conscious System 2. Intuition and flow engage to a great extent the same cognitive mechanisms, at the same time without being reduced to definitions in terms of one another. Both intuition and flow involve ontogenetic System 1 processing that enables us to function very well in a culturally evolving, changing environment. In summary, flow can be construed as intuitive action, whereas intuition can be thought of as cognition in flow.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFlow Experience
Subtitle of host publicationEmpirical Research and Applications
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783319286341
ISBN (Print)9783319286327
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Dual processing
  • Flow
  • Intuition
  • Jonathan Evans
  • Keith Stanovich
  • Mihály Csikszentmihályi


Dive into the research topics of 'Intuition and flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this