If you’ve ever wondered whether your mind has a mind of its own, you may be right. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Israel have found evidence that we unconsciously work on language and mathematical problems before alerting the conscious mind.
Researchers exposed subjects to multiple word combinations, some of which violated semantic rules, and found that the subjects became conscious of the incorrect combinations earlier than ones they might expect to hear. They also found evidence that multi-step arithmetical problems were being solved subconsciously.
Our understanding of the subconscious and its relation to our conscious mind is still extremely limited. As we learn more, we may be able to explain why it is that sleeping on a problem often helps to solve it, and how it is that autistic savants are able to perform tasks that neurotypical people find impossible.
Until then, it might be wise to remember that trusting your instincts may not be such a bad idea.