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Rosenblatt, A.D. Thickstun, J.T. (1994). Intuition and Consciousness. Psychoanal Q., 63:696-714.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:696-714

Intuition and Consciousness

Allan D. Rosenblatt, M.D. and James T. Thickstun, M.D.


Intuition represents an unconscious cognitive activity, the results of which become conscious at some point. Some recent nonpsychoanalytic explorations of cognition and consciousness are examined to illuminate our understanding of these processes and their relation to the psychoanalytic process. Our thesis is that intuition may be most usefully viewed as a form of unconscious pattern-matching cognition, which becomes conscious under certain conditions and which is only loosely related to primary process. A clinical example is given of the analyst's intuition to illustrate the initial ostensibly theory-free nature of the raw intuition and the subsequent theory-bound explorations of the intuitive conclusion. Implications for teaching and learning psychoanalysis are noted.

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