Gut Feelings, Intuition, and Emotions: An Exploratory Study

February 2, 2005
Dean Radin, PhD

Radin, D. I., & Schlitz, M. J. (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: an exploratory study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(1), 85–91.


Objective: Investigate whether the gut feelings of one person, as measured with an electrogastrogram (EGG), respond to the emotions of a distant person.

Design: In a double blind protocol, EGG activity was recorded in an individual relaxing in a heavily shielded chamber while, at a distance, a second person periodically viewed the live video image of the first person along with stimuli designed to evoke positive, negative, calming, or neutral emotions.

Subjects: Twenty-six (26) pairs of healthy adult volunteers.

Outcome measures: EGG maximum values recorded while the distant person was exposed to emotional stimuli were compared to similar values recorded during exposure to neutral stimuli.

Results: EGG maximums were significantly larger on average when the distant person was experiencing positive (p = 0.006) and negative (p = 0.0009) emotions, as compared to neutral emotions. Nonparametric bootstrap procedures were employed to evaluate these differences, and the results survive correction for multiple analyses.

Conclusions: EGG activity increases in response to the emotions of a distant person, beyond the influence of ordinary sensory interactions. Relationships commonly reported between gut feelings and intuitive hunches may share a common, poorly understood, perceptive origin.

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