# Difference between Instinct and Intuition

Sometimes I've heard people using the term gut feeling rather than their 'intuition or instinct' and I'm not sure which one do they mean. So, can both the terms be used interchangeably and simply referred to as a 'gut feeling'? Is there a real difference between Instinct and Intuition?

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a gut feeling would be an intuition. a gut reaction would be an instinct. –  BenCole Aug 15 '12 at 19:36

Intuition, as defined by Wikipedia:

Intuition may be defined as understanding or knowing without conscious recourse to thought, observation or reason.

Intuition is currently understood to be the subliminal processing of information that is too complex for rational thought, e.g. mate choice. The processes that make up intuition are learned, not innate.

Instinct is not a feeling, but an innate, "hardwired" tendency toward a particular behavior. Instincts are automatic reactions to environmental stimuli that cannot be repressed and occur in every individual of a species. The current opinion in psychology (since Maslow) is that human beings have no instincts.

A Gut Feeling, according to the reference, arises from intuition.

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Can a gut feeling be both instinct and intuition? –  cpx Apr 22 '12 at 7:34
I think so, cpx. A gut feeling is a sensation. The nature of it could be acquired (intuition) or instinctual. –  Keegan Keplinger Aug 15 '12 at 5:33
Human beings have no instincts. See the definition of "instinct" at the bottom of the Wikipedia article. –  user1196 May 7 '13 at 10:13

Instinct is neither learned nor developmental behavior. Intuition is awareness outside of conscious searching or conscious algorithmic behavior. Autonomous activity is a reflex or heart beating that is automatic (may be a conditioned responding).

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Do you have an authoritative reference for these? –  Chuck Sherrington May 10 '13 at 22:26