Modern research into how firefighters and nurses respond to a crisis supports the idea that a traditional education in beauty will develop our powers of intuitive decision making.
In a great series of recorded lectures entitled The Art of Critical Decision Making, former Harvard business school professor and current Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University, Michael A Roberto discusses the importance of intuition in making decisions; and the factors that influence the reliability of our intuitive faculty. He illustrates his points with some striking real-life stories of people relying upon or ignoring intuition (sometimes with dire consequences); and backs up what he says with modern psychological research.
For example, he tells of a number of occasions when nurses in cardiac intensive care units predict that a patient is going to have a heart attack. This is despite the fact that the specialist doctors could see no problem and the standard ways of monitoring the patients’ condition indicated nothing wrong either. When such nurses are asked why they think the situation is bad, they cannot answer. As a result their predictions were disregarded. As it turned out, very often and sadly for the people involved, the nurses were right. In order to protect patients in future people started to ask questions and do research on why the nurses could tell there was a problem. What was it they were reacting to, even if they couldn’t say initially?
The most dramatic tale he related was of a crack team of firefighters who were specialists in dealing with forest and brush fires and would be helicoptered into any location within a large part of the West to deal with fires when they broke out. The leader of the group was respected firefighter who was a taciturn individual who lead by example. However, he was not a good natural communicator, but usually this did not matter. One day they responded to a call and went to a remote site in the sierras in California. When they assessed the situation they discerned the pace of spread of the fire, the direction it was going and so worked out how to deal with it safely. These judgments were important because if they got it wrong the brush fire could move faster than any man could run and they would be in trouble. Initially things went as expected but then suddenly the leader stopped and (Read More)