The situation has provided a cue: This cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.
— , Psychological Science
In most situations, people do not follow a structured decision-making process by generating alternatives and carefully evaluating them by calculating estimated utility and probabilities. According to Gary Klein GK Gary Klein , research up to 1989 had focussed on making optimal decisions in well-structured settings. Researchers began to study decisions in less structured, real-world settings to determine how they were making decisions and found that people were making decisions based on prior experience. They developed several models of such naturalistic decision making that attempt to explain the process. Klein’s recognition-primed model , for example, identified that decision-makers were pattern-matching based on previous experience and then performing mental simulations to predict how a course of action might play out in the current situation.
Gary Klein GK Gary Klein and Robert Hoffmann RH Robert Hoffmann suggest that expertise allows people to see the invisible. Whereas novices only see what is in front of them, experts can see what is missing. They reached these conclusions by observing experts such as chess grandmasters or firefighters. Such experts can size up situations and apply mental models in a way that less experienced people cannot. They can recognize patterns and determine whether a situation is typical or not. They can quickly filter through the available information to focus on the most promising alternatives. They can also respond rapidly if a decision is urgent.