Connect with us

How Do I Date

The Secret To Women’s Evolutionary Intuition

women's intuition


The Secret To Women’s Evolutionary Intuition

How Women’s Intuition Has Evolved

She Has the Information, Now Does She Know What to Do with It?

Women are a socially subordinate group, and this power-down position has forced women to acquire certain nonverbal (and verbal) skills. Historically, you can see this kind of adaptation in other societies and cultures, and even within different subcultures in the United States.

Women had to learn to become reliant on nonverbal behavior, both sending and receiving it. Women needed to pay attention to the moods, likes, dislikes, emotions, and reactions of the dominant group that is, men almost as a survival instinct, hence the concepts of “women’s intuition” and “womanly wiles.” Daniel Goleman calls it the “politics of empathy” in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence. Those with little power have the “expectation that they sense the feelings of those who hold power,” says Goleman.

During the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. expressed surprise at what little insight white people had into the feelings of black people. Black people, he said, had to be much more sensitized to how white people felt if only to survive in a racist society.

The same goes for women. To the degree that women have been oppressed in society, they have had to become more empathetic than men. It’s been generations of practice, and now women have developed an acute sensitivity to nonverbal cues and reading others’ emotional states. Women are now expected to have a heightened sensitivity and emotional awareness.

For centuries, women were called witches and burned at the stake for possessing these so-called supernatural powers. It couldn’t  be natural to be able to predict what others would do, spot liars, and uncover the truth.

In the book Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, Barbara and Allan Pease conducted an experiment that highlighted women’s ability to read the body language signals of babies. The women were asked to watch 10-second video clips of crying babies, but with no sound only the visual cues. Most of the women (who were mothers) could detect a wide range of emotions, from pain to hunger to exhaustion to gas.

When the fathers took the same test, the results were “pitiful,” the report said. Fewer than 10 percent of the men could identify more than two emotions. And even then, they were guessing, the study said.

To see if age made a difference, the study then tested grandparents. Most grandmothers scored in the 50 to 70 percent range of the mothers’ high scores, while many of the grandfathers couldn’t even identify their own grandchild!

She Has the Information, Now Does She Know What to Do with It?

The ability to decode nonverbal cues is ultimately valuable and essential for effective communication. So women must ask themselves, how can we use these skills to enhance our effectiveness instead of letting them divert us? Women must not focus on others for a definition of what is “normal” or acceptable behavior; they must define it for themselves. This ability can be a gift. Use it as such.

Women, practice this mantra: trust your inner knowledge, your intuition, that gut feeling. It might be more than just a hunch.

If you don’t trust someone when making a deal, go with that feeling. Question and investigate. You could save your organization from a bad deal. Women need to know that their ability to pick up on the subtle, low-level cues is historically developed. Women are often questioned when they object to something based on a “feeling.” Remember, feelings are not credible in a man’s world. Instead, suggest further investigation or a closer look, without disclosing that you’re using your “intuitive” radar.

[Audrey Nelson]

Dr. Audrey Nelson is an internationally recognized trainer, keynote speaker, author and consultant who helps organizations increase their productivity and profitability through winning communication strategies. She specializes in gender communication, conflict management, communication skills, and sexual harassment and discrimination. Dr. Nelson’s professional background includes 10 years teaching in the Dept. of Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For 30 years she has trained and consulted for a wide variety of government and Fortune 50 companies in 49 states, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and Korea. Among them are Xcel Energy, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, American Board of Trial Attorneys , AT&T, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, Pentax, Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Dept. of Justice and the U.S. Dept. of State. She holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication. She conducted post-doctoral work at Warnborough College in Oxford, England in gender communication. Thirty years ago she co-founded and served as president for the Organization for the Research on Women and Communication. Audrey is a published author. You Don’t Say: Navigating Nonverbal Communication Between the Sexes (Prentice Hall, 2004) was published in six languages. She co-authored Code Switching: How to Talk so Men will Listen (Penguin-Alpha Books, 2009) and The Gender Communication Handbook: Conquering Conversational Collisions Between Men and Women (Pfeiffer 2012).

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Intuition

Best Dating Sites


Must Reads

To Top