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The Beauty of Guts - New Study Looks at People Who Listen to Their “Spidey Sense”

Julia Grant’s female intuition warned her that something would happen if her husband, Ulysses S. Grant, accepted Abraham Lincoln’s invitation to join him at the Ford Theatre on April 14, 1865. Nikola Tesla always listened to his intuition, which he credited as the creative force behind his numerous inventions. There is an abundance of stories of people who avoided danger by listening to their intuition or a “sixth sense,” but according to research from PsychTests, there are other unexpected benefits of listening to our gut instincts. Looking at the personality profiles of people who frequently and implicitly trust their gut, PsychTests’ study reveals that there is a strong connection between listening to our inner voice and other beneficial traits, like confidence, ambition, and resilience.

Evaluating the profiles of 3,205 individuals who took the Big Five Personality Test, researchers at PsychTests compared people who listen to their gut to people who don’t on 34 different traits. Here are some of the noteworthy differences between the two groups:

(Note: Scores range on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the stronger the trait).


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 60
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 47

People who trust their intuition tend to handle hardship better than those who don’t. If our guts can help us avoid certain mishaps, we learn to trust ourselves more, and trust in our ability to handle whatever comes our way.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 75
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 60

Intuitives tend to be much more goal-oriented, and like to set the bar high. This may be because they heed the inner voice that tells them to believe in and to follow their dreams.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 64
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 47

Intuitives are less likely to mindlessly follow the crowd, especially if their gut tells them not to do what everyone else is doing. They allow their inner voice to speak louder than the voices around them.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 75
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 37

It takes guts to follow one’s gut, which may be the reason why intuitives are more confident than non-intuitives. The more we allow our own inner guidance to steer us the right way, the more we trust ourselves.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 79
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 69

Tesla believed that “[Each] of us is only part of a whole.” This may be why people who follow their gut tend to be kinder and more amiable. They understand the importance of developing a deep connection with others, and with themselves.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 71
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 61

A curious mind is much more open to the unknown. Intuitives accept the possibility that there is an indescribable force that guides them, which may also make them inquisitive about other extraordinary phenomena. Curiosity also contributes to thirst for knowledge, so intuitive people are more likely to be life-long learners.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 78
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 59

Tesla wasn’t the only one who allowed his intuition to be his muse. Author Robert Louis Stevenson, Google creator Larry Page, and even Sir Paul McCartney all brought to life amazing creations that came to them in their dreams. By being open to information from sources other than their logical and conscious minds, intuitives seem to be in a better position (or state of mind) to tap into their creativity.


  •      Score for the intuitive or “gut” group: 68
  •      Score for the non-intuitive group: 54

Our intuition can often offer warnings about the potential dangers of taking certain actions (or not taking them). This may be why intuitives are much more vigilant and conscientious by nature: When their gut tells that something is wrong, they use caution.

“Researchers are paying much more attention to ‘gut intelligence’ or the ‘secondary brain,’ which is that intrinsic, age-old survival mechanism that has kept us alive for so long,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Your gut communicates with your brain via direct neuropathways that actually light up when intuition is activated. That’s why you get that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach when you sense imminent danger, or when there is something off about that stranger you’ve just met. It’s your body’s ancient survival mechanism kicking in, saying ‘Danger. Be careful.’"

“The problem is that we often override this inner message with our logical mind. We dismiss feelings and intuition as irrational,” suggests Dr. Jerabek. Granted, paranoia and anxiety can sometimes be mistaken for gut instinct, but while the former is fear-based, the latter is not. Gut instinct is based on past knowledge and experience, and on your innate ability to quickly evaluate and process information. The memory and lessons learned in the past may be ‘forgotten' by the brain, but the information is still stored in memory cells. Emotions, the subconscious mind, and the famous gut feeling have access to that information … and they can retrieve and process that information 10 times faster than the conscious mind. Your intuition is that inner knowing, and when you hear that voice in your head, it’s insistent, but also calm and confident. It doesn’t just warn you of danger, it also guides you. Look up stories of people who have followed their gut or listened to a warning from their intuition. They will often say something along the lines of ‘My gut was telling me to check on my child, to go to the doctor, or to take a safer route, etc. So when your intuition sends you a warning, listen. Milk it for information, and then use your rational mind to process it. It could save your life, or someone else’s.”

Want to assess your personality? Check out our Big Five Personality Test at

Professional users can request a free demo for this or any other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook:

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About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers, and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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