We've all had a little voice that nudges us when faced with difficult decisions. This unspoken voice mysteriously arises from our gut as a form of unconscious reasoning, popularly known as a "gut feeling." Our gut instinct is often linked with mysticism or premonitions, but should we trust our intuition? If so, when should we follow it?

In AsapSCIENCE's latest video, "Should You Trust Your Gut Instinct?" host Mitchell Moffit explains how our brain processes information through both fast and slow thinking.

Our intuition is part of System 1, fast thinking, which is why it comes so rapidly to us, and often does not make rational sense. Intuitive decisions are usually not something carefully thought out with reasons, but rather choices made out of a gut instinct. Meanwhile, System 2, or slow thinking, is a more analytical, and conscious way of thinking that is controlled by the left brain, and other parts of the brain, known as the "neocortex."

Researchers have found that System 1 often knows the right answer before System 2 does. For example, a study in the J ournal of Personality and Social Psychology found after listening to a recording of many voices in succession, including their own, 75 participants made a mistake recognizing their own voice. However, the most fascinating part is that their skin conductance was also measured, and these levels went much higher when their own voice came on, even though they didn't consciously recognize their voice. This suggests they had ignored their intuition, which knew the correct answer first.

So, is following your intuition always the right thing to do?

Not necessarily, at least when it comes to empathy.

A study involving over 900 participants found when it came to accurately interpreting and understanding the feelings of others, systematic thinking, or carefully analyzing the information available before making a decision, was more successful than going with what felt right.

Relying on our past experiences is essentially how our intuition is formed, which has helped our ancestors determine friend from foe. However, we live in more secure environments, and are able to use our intuition in other situations.

We were given two thinking systems, and it’s best if we choose to follow both.