Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

A study of the experience, use, and development of intuition

Linda Landry, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Purpose of the study. Although the use of intuition has been ongoing throughout history and documented in the literature, we do not really know how people actually experience and use their intuition, and consequently there is little information about how to nurture and develop the process. The purpose of this study is to discover how intuition is accessed, used, confirmed, understood, nurtured, and developed. The nature, process, and experience of intuition are explored in order to create a better understanding of this way of knowing. Personal narratives elicit information about how one knows intuitively, responds to and utilizes this information, and develops this inherent ability. Methodology. A qualitative research method was employed to initiate an exploratory, phenomenological investigation. In the traditional approach of the cognitive anthropologist, in-depth interviews were conducted as carefully guided conversations to allow the participants to fully express and explore their own experience, world views, and belief systems. From the interviews, profiles were constructed and subsequently examined by using the technique of content analysis. Information, presented in the profiles, was qualitatively analysed and interpreted to identify domains of understanding and specific dimensions of the intuitive experiences. Results and conclusions. Seven dimensions of the intuitive experience were identified as significant areas of interest and concern. Examining the dimensions of access, response, use, confirmation, meaning, development, and constraints provided the format to compare and contrast the participants' experiences, understandings, and beliefs. The themes of trust and source of intuitive information were elucidated. The full experience of intuition as a gestalt was explored to better understand the essence of the intuitive experience. The participants articulated many ways they use intuition, identified ways they nurture it, and speculated about ways they can further develop it. The participants gained expanded insights into their own process and experience, while generating information that has far reaching implications for further study. They found intuition intrinsic in developing interpersonal relationships, communicating caring, reaching meta-levels of understanding, making decisions, and creating meaning. Sometimes surprised, they spoke of the pervasive use of intuition at the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels of awareness.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Psychology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Landry, Linda, "A study of the experience, use, and development of intuition" (1991). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9120905.