When you have to make a tough choice in an unpredictable situation, try prioritizing the one element that matters most to you. Take the upcoming elections. Sure, you know the candidates' track records, but maybe you still can't figure out who'll be the best person for the job; after all, there's no way to know their political futures. So trust your instincts by asking yourself what one or two qualities or issues are most important to you, then vote for the candidate who most closely suits your values.
Call on common sense.
Let's say you have a bad feeling about that stranger you see milling around the school yard when you pick up your kids. This person hasn't done anything wrong, but you still feel uneasy so you should alert someone about your hunch. Even if you're not an expert at recognizing pedophiles, "we're all experts about other people," says Gigerenzer. As a parent, you know plenty about kids' safety and how other parents, teachers, and school staff typically react around children, so you may well be picking up a legitimate bad vibe from this outsider, even if you can't quite articulate why. The bottom line is, you don't have to be an "expert" to make the smart call. If something doesn't feel right, don't ignore the warning bells going off in your head.
Are women more intuitive?
That much-vaunted (and sometimes derided) "women's intuition" may be, um, all in our heads, says German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Women don't actually surpass men in the intuition department, he says the difference is more in perception than ability.
According to Gigerenzer's studies of 1,000 men and women, both genders thought that women were better at interpersonal intuition: catching on to social cues, reading other people's minds, finding a romantic partner, and the like. Yet 90 percent of both men and women thought that males have better intuition in matters of science. Both males and females also guessed that men would be better at intuitively picking stock investments. Bottom line: Research (and common sense) shows that men and women are pretty much equal when it comes to intuition the only real difference is what we believe we know.