I know there are many factors when making decisions such as emotion, logic and reason etc ... But my question is how significant is instinct or intuition driven decision making important when human beings make decisions on a daily basis? Like I don't understand the whole idea behind the relationship between instincts and individual decision making process.

Are there any theories or explanation to how intuitive thinking leads us to make appropriate decisions?

  • This is more of a question for Psychology SE, but you have to explain what "don't understand the whole idea behind the relationship" means exactly. Most of "daily basis" consists of mindless repetition of standard routines with minimal variations, instincts are chains of automatic responses, so they "make the decisions" the same way an autopilot does. For a popular account of instinctive vs data driven decision making see The Science Behind Gut Feelings and Making Data-Driven Decisions.
    – Conifold
    Jun 15 '19 at 0:45

"Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them." - David Hume in A Treatise of Human Nature

Analysis can be rational, but it cannot provide the impulse to act, the decision itself, and the judgement of what we ought to do.

Modern economics is one area where expectations that human are purely rational is having to be modified https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/the-irrational-consumer-why-economics-is-dead-wrong-about-how-we-make-choices/267255/ In particular, decision making involves cognitive loads, which in every day life people usually choose to minimise.

Research has shown that to a great extent we use post hoc rationalisation (a good summary here https://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/11/14/post-hoc-rationalisation-reasoning-our-intuition-and-changing-our-minds/), coming to intuitive decisions and only then rationalising to justify them. This has been linked in Thinking Fast And Slow to our need to be able to reduce cognitive loads. When we have both the need and the time, we can use slower more careful reasoning. But in many situations it's more efficient to rely on quicker analysis and judgement, and it may be lifesaving - so go with strong evolutionary selection. Interesting insights can be gained from research on split-brain patients who had their brain hemispheres disconnected, where post hoc reasoning and multi-agent consciousness is especially apparent. Seeking consilience, the tendency to rely more on perceptions from multiple senses or sources, and different brain processes, helps understand how intuition tries not to float free of analysis.

Nicholas Christakis talks about the evolution of a 'social suite' which seems to be the basis of our morality, in this podcast on Humanity, Biology, and What Makes Us Good https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VkUFthM6n5o

Patricia Churchland, one of probably the most influential living philosophers, has been developing the field of neurophilosophy. This specifically addresses the origins of moral intuitions, and of conscience. Hear more in this podcast: Conscience, Morality, and the Brain https://youtu.be/ktIk93tKfcw

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