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Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for EPISODE #158 with a return of our popular guest, expert in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and neurotechnology, Dr. Howard Rankin from episodes #146[i] and #152[ii] with Grant Renier, who started his venture into ‘Intuitive Rationality’[iii] 30 years before Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman published his groundbreaking book, Thinking, Fast and Slow[iv] creating a company that uses Intuitive General Intelligence (a knock off term like Artificial Intelligence)  to predict near and future events, while taking into account the fundamentals of human behavior. So basically, he has created a predictive technology that can peer into the future of sports predictions, health and medicine.

Watch the interview on YouTube here. 

Learn more about Grant Renier and Dr. Howard Rankin’s artificial intelligence system

See past episodes here

In Today’s Episode, you will learn:
✔︎ How to Improve Our Strategic Decision-Making Process with the Most Common Cognitive Biases in Mind.

✔︎ How Grant’s AI System (that can be used by anyone) can predict sports wins, medicine and financial markets.

✔︎ How Howard and Grant wrote their book, Intuitive Rationality to explain the future of decision-making, through the lens of Artificial Intelligence.

I’m Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of our listeners, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments with ideas that we can all use, understand and implement immediately.

Dr. Rankin and Grant Renier will discuss their new book, Intuitive Rationality, that brings to light the fact that humans are not entirely rational but instead are influenced by several factors in arriving at decisions, like subconscious and environmental processes, and a need for emotional comfort and ideological consistency. These are “heuristics” which are defined as “mental shortcuts” designed to reduce the energy involved in critical thinking and complex processing, showing that pure rationality is almost never practical or possible for human beings and that even the most seemingly rational conclusions are at best probabilities based on the currently known data, which would almost certainly change over time.

While these notions are not new, they have appeared in a new context, the 21st century where technology is prevalent and social connection has never been greater. These contemporary processes mean that the various ways that people think have never been more important. Understanding cognitive biases is now critical for anyone in being more aware and efficient in not just their own thinking but also that of others. I know that local police departments now train their employees on cognitive bias, so officers are aware of how their thinking impacts their decision-making on the job, and cognitive bias is an important concept for educators to think about in the classroom, as well in any workplace environment for that matter.

Which biases and heuristics are programmed into Intuitive Rationality and how are they incorporated? This new book  and our interview  will answer these questions, as well as demonstrating the proven success of such a system that is a new direction in artificial intelligence logic. Grant and Howard will introduce this fascinating and paradoxical[v] connection between Intuition and Rationality to help us better understand the strategic decision-making process, to understand how and why we make the decisions that we do, how our world is defined by them, and show how this new approach to artificial intelligence can shift its development to a more human behavior-based logic, leading to a new field of AI-Intuitive General Intelligence.

I like the sounds of this! Who doesn’t want to figure out new ways to improve their thinking, and strategic decision-making with this new understanding while also getting a glimpse of the future? I think this concept could help us to stay one step ahead of the crowd.

Let’s welcome Dr. Rankin back for a third time to the podcast, and meet the co-author of their new book, Grant Renier and let’s see if we can learn the concept of Intuitive Rationality together.

Welcome Dr. Rankin and wonderful to meet you, Grant.

Q1: For Grant: I’m fascinated with the system you created years before Daniel Kahneman’s groundbreaking book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, for many reasons, but mostly because I’ve always wondered about incorporating “gut feelings” or intuition into our decision-making process. Now that I’m studying practical neuroscience and have spoken to Howard a couple of times now, he’s convinced me that there’s a problem with the way humans think.

Can you explain what is Intuitive Rationality, your intuitive General intelligence system, and how it works (financial markets, sports. Elections and medicine?)  taking into the account of human decision-making?

1B: Howard, taking Grant’s work into account, and the idea that you have a podcast called How Not to Think[vi], What should we all know about “how we think and make decisions?”

Q2: Can you share some of the insights you write about in Chapter 1 about your visit to Walmart that are metaphors to help us to understand “how we think?” Can we talk through each of the examples of human thinking?

Dan— “According to Aristotle, all human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.” You mention in your example that you had chosen the long life 100-watt light bulbs with a combination of chance, nature and habit as per Aristotle via Dan. In my studies so far, I have come across Jaak Panksepp[vii an American neuroscientist who says we have seven networks of emotion in the brain that begin with seeking—we are always looking for something new, and the brain releases dopamine when it finds it. How do we make decisions here? Looking for something new, or choosing what we are used to and like?

Maria— “As Buddha says, we are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” I understand this one, probably from my work with the speaker Bob Proctor who taught me the importance of guarding my thoughts, since our thoughts, feelings and actions control our results/conditions, circumstances, and environment.  How important are our thoughts in your opinion and how does our thinking tie into decision-making?

Aloysius—As Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “One may say anything about the history of the world–anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can’t say is that it’s rational.” What role does our imagination play with decision making?

Crystal —Sigmund Freud said “unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” We could talk about this one for a week!! A month…maybe a year!! Before I start this one, I wonder, when making decisions, how can we keep emotions out of this process?

Andrea’s Thoughts: I’ve uncovered that Research shows that “emotion has a substantial influence on the cognitive processes in humans including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning and problem solving.”[viii] This happens because our amygdala “is activated by emotional events. The amygdala boosts memory encoding by enhancing attention and perception and can help memory retention by triggering the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, to boost arousal.”[ix] How can we keep our emotions out of decision-making, or when can we become aware of how they are impacting our decisions?

Q2B: How can you predict sports wins? What data is pulled?

Maggie—“as Daniel Kahneman says, ‘We are very influenced by completely automatic things that we have no control over, and we don’t know we’re doing it.’” Dr. Carolyn Leaf on our interview in March of this year told me that our emotions show up in our behavior, and often times when we have a behavior we don’t like, we can just take some time to identify the emotion attached to the behavior (or the root cause) that remains unforgotten in the non-conscious mind from something that happened to you in your childhood and making the connection between the emotion and the behavior explain why you are doing something “without control.” Is that what this means?

Q3: It wasn’t even 2 seconds into chapter 3 (A Starbucks Encounter) where you meet Sherlock Holmes for coffee (which sounded like an incredible idea) where he introduces risk aversion bias, confirmation bias, and availability bias. I have seen a list of the top 50 cognitive biases[x] but how many are you aware of, and how is it possible that we check ourselves against these biases during decision-making?

Q4: Can you explain a few of the most important of the 12 core cognitive biases in Intuitive Rationality? (Availability, anchoring, confirmation, symmetry, risk-avoidance, memory decay)?

Q5: How do these cognitive biases fit into AI and how would a system like what Grant has developed take into consideration Theory of Mind, or respond to different human cues like emotions?

Q6: What should we all take away from Intuitive Rationality?

I want to thank you both for your time today, and for explaining Intuitive Rationality to me and the listeners. I know these lessons and ideas will help us all to think clearly, and take a bit more time with our decision-making process.

For anyone who wants to learn more about you, Grant, what is the best place?

Intuality AI Website

Grant Renier

Dr. Howard Rankin  and

To read the book?

Thank you!

Join the Intuitive Rationality Facebook Group to Learn More and Stay in Touch with Grant and Howard.


[i]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #146 with Dr. Howard Rankin on “How Not to Think”

[ii]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #152 with Dr. Howard Rankin Interviewing Andrea Samadi


[iv] Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Published Dec. 19, 2012

[v] The Interplay between Intuition and Rationality in Strategies Decision-Making: A Paradox Perspective Published July 29, 2016 by Guilia Calabretta, Gerda Gemser, Nachoem M. Wijnberg

[vi] Dr. Rankin’s How Not to Think Podcast


[viii] The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory Published August 24, 2017 Chai M Tyng, Hafeez U Amin, Mohammed N M Saad, Aamir S Malik

[ix] What Makes Memories Stronger?

[x] 50 Cognitive Biases in the Modern World