Intuition: A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Approach

This review proposes that implicit learning processes are the cognitive substrate of social intuition. This hypothesis is supported by (a) the conceptual correspondence between implicit learning and social intuition (nonverbal communication) and (b) a review of relevant neuropsychological (Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease), neuroimaging, neurophysiological, and neuroanatomical data. It is concluded that the caudate and putamen, in the basal ganglia, are central components of both intuition and implicit learning, supporting the proposed relationship. Parallel, but distinct, processes of judgment and action are demonstrated at each of the social, cognitive, and neural levels of analysis. Additionally, explicit attempts to learn a sequence can interfere with implicit learning. The possible relevance of the computations of the basal ganglia to emotional appraisal, automatic evaluation, script processing, and decision making are discussed.