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Difference Between Intuition And Instinct (Explained)

Difference Between Intuition And Instinct (Explained)

Human beings are believed to be the most efficient and sensible creatures that have ever lived on this planet, or maybe in the entire universe. The fact that separates us from other living organisms is that they might have some unique ability or sense.

Still, it would be the only thing unique about that specific species, whereas humans are the collective beings of these talents or unique senses, which is not common in any other species.

This quality is God’s gift to humans. Even though a man is unaware of his uniqueness, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it, or a person who is struggling to keep up with his current life or job, it does not mean that he is not capable. He might just be in the wrong field.

Human beings are gifted with a special talent, “instinct.” An instinct can be best defined as an inborn impulse or motivation to action, typically performed in response to specific external stimuli. The best competitor of instinct is “intuition.” Intuition is the power or faculty of getting to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.

Nowadays, instinct is generally described as a stereotyped, apparently unlearned, genetically determined behavior pattern. For intuition, you can say it is an immediate apprehension or cognition.

Distinguishing Facts Between Intuition and Instinct

Intuition motivation
Intuition motivation
Reaction Instinct is a natural reaction, not a thought; you respond automatically to a situation, without even having time to think. Instinct is an inner feeling that you have that something is the case, rather than an opinion or idea based on facts.  Intuition is not a reaction. It is defined as an insight or a thought. Intuition is linked to your consciousness so it gives you perceptions. Gut feelings are always linked to your emotions.  
ConsciousnessInstinct is the definition of not a feeling, but an innate, “hardwired” tendency toward a particular behavior. Instincts are involuntary responses to environmental actions that cannot be concealed and arise in any individual. The current opinion in psychology (since Maslow) is that humans have no instincts.  Intuition describes a senseless mental action, the consequences of which become plotted at some point. Some recent psychoanalytic explorations of cognition and consciousness are examined to illuminate our understanding of these processes and their relation to the psychoanalytic process.
SurvivalSelf-preservation, which is considered by many people to be a basic instinct, is simply an organism’s way of protecting itself from harm or destruction. Many refer to it as a “survival instinct.”  Dan Cappon (1993) stated that intuition has always been essential to human survival and achievement from both an evolutionary and historical perspective. It is a survival skill that emerged from basic impulses for survival.  
SenseInstinct is also defined as the sense, but a person is not aware of the actions he is putting through. It is also defined as the sixth sense or an immediate action sense.  Intuition is defined as the ability to know something without any visible proof. It is sometimes called a “gut feeling,” “instinct,” or “sixth sense.” For thousands of years, intuition has had a bad reputation among scientists. It has often been seen as inferior to reason.
FeelingInstinct is a feeling that you have that something is the case, rather than an opinion or idea based on facts. Instinct is a feeling present inside the human brain making decisions on its own without any serious investigation as it does in other serious matters.  Intuition is defined as that sense of knowing what the right answer or decision is before you make it. It’s a deep, internal, feeling. You know your intuition is just  around when you say things like, “I can’t really explain it, but…” or “It just felt right.”  
ExamplesLike all animals, humans have instincts, genetically hard-wired behaviors that enhance our ability to tackle important environmental contingencies. Like Our innate fear of snakes is an example. The Other instincts, including denial, revenge, tribal loyalty,  and our urge to procreate, now threaten our very existence.  The best example of intuition is that when we walk into a coffee shop, we immediately recognize a cup as something we have seen many times before.
Instinct vs. Intuition

Instinct and Intuition Theory

In the early 20th century, a British-born American psychologist, William McDougall, gave a theory of instinct based on the idea that behavior has an inherent purpose, in the sense that it is aimed at the attainment of a goal.

Instinct was the basic thing experienced by people, and this was the feeling that got doctors worried because they were not able to describe any precautions or any medication to their patients. Then it was introduced as instinct and was declared a natural phenomenon not only in humans but also in animal brains.

Instinct helps a person react in situations he is not ready for. An everyday example is when we touch a hot pan, we immediately remove our hands. That is the action of instinct.

Intuition helps in making decisions

Its main competitor is intuition. The word intuition is taken from the Latin verb “intueri,” which is translated as “consider,” or from the late middle English word intuit, “to contemplate.”

Modern psychology studies and shows that intuition helps make decisions without comparing different aspects. This type of decision is normally taken when one is under stress or is in great fear, and these decisions have shown a good positive ratio.

Instinct in Animals

The animals have the same kind of instinct designed specifically for prey and predators.

The prey uses this ability to dodge the stealthy attacks from their predators, while in predators, this works as a kind of pattern tracker or prediction maker to where their prey would be running to save its life. This improves the speed of predators and reduces the gap between prey and predator.

Instincts are innate propensities in animals to entertain spontaneously in a certain way or manner.

For instance, a dog quivering his body after it gets wet, a turtle desiring the ocean after hatching, or a migration of birds before the winter starts.

The instinct of a dog shaking after it gets wet
The instinct of a dog shaking after it gets wet

On the basis of the above-introduced facts, it is right to say that animals and humans both have instincts that have proven to be a necessary part of life. If we didn’t have instinct, our actions would have been too slow, which would have affected our development.

If animals didn’t have instinct, it would be impossible for the prey to dodge the secret and sudden attacks from their predators.

For instance, when a rabbit emerges from its hole and gets attacked immediately by an eagle, the instinct in the rabbit will allow the rabbit to crouch without taking any time; hence, in most cases, this saves the lives of many animals.

Linguistic Difference

An Instinct is a thinking action
An Instinct is a thinking action

Though both words can be used alternatively, linguistics draws a barrier between these two words.

To simply define instinct, it is something an individual is born with, or in more simple words, it is simply God-given. While intuition develops with experience, the more a person grows or gains experience, the more intuitive he becomes.

When a situation does not grant a person sufficient time to think about the action and the reaction, the action taken in that situation which is not processed by the brain completely is known as instinct.

Intuition allows a person to take action in situations a person has already gone through, similar to previous situations. In simpler words, intuition repeats and takes action on its experience gained from different situations.

Instinct vs. Intuition


  • Most human beings don’t know about their actions, or when they come to think about the particular action they took in an emergency situation, it amazes them how the particular action came into their mind and why that particular action.
  • Intuition is something a person learns from his experience, whether it is decision-making or tackling a situation that they are not ready for.
  • The gist of our research tells us that if a man is highly experienced, then his intuition level would be high as per his experience. Instinct is something an individual is born with, whether it is decision-making or dodging some kind of secret attack.
  • Animals also seem to have both in them, but obviously, their level is different from ours. An animal is gifted with these sorts of tactics to prevent himself from getting hunted or killed. While if the animal is from predator kind, his tactics can be useful to hunt down its prey before it reaches its cave.

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