Unleashing Your Sixth Sense: The Power of Neuroception

6 min read

Co-authored by Kathleen Joy.
In the fast-paced, interconnected world, having a heightened sense of intuition can indeed be a valuable asset. While it’s not about predicting tabloid headlines, intuition plays a significant role in decision-making, problem-solving, and fostering creativity. These subtle smarts, often called neuroception (the brain’s undercover detective), can jazz up your decision-making, problem-solving, and creativity. Here is a quick spin through neuroception, exploring the role of how neuroplasticity, can pump your sixth sense for personal and professional awesomeness.

Unveiling the Concept of Neuroception

Neuroception, a term coined by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, delves into our ability to detect safety and danger cues in the environment without conscious awareness. It’s like having an intuitive radar for social and emotional signals. Intuition helps us navigate socially, and make informed decisions based on subtle cues. Dr. Porges’ concept of neuroception is a crucial element in understanding and is vital for improving leadership skills. It enables leaders to sense the emotional climate within their teams, allowing for more effective decision-making and interpersonal interactions.

Why Is Neuroception Important?

It’s the neural foundation of our sixth sense. It allows us to read between the lines, pick up on unspoken emotions, and sense the atmosphere in a room. It’s a valuable skill for leaders, coaches, and anyone seeking to understand and connect with others on a deeper more intuitive level. This is related to the neurotransmitter oxytocin and the research by neuroeconomist Paul Zak, which we’ll get to in a moment.

That Remarkable Adaptability: Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s incredible ability to reorganize and adapt by forming new neural connections throughout life even in late adulthood. Neuroplasticity offers leaders the opportunity for continuous growth and development throughout their careers. We’ve seen how leaders can evolve and adapt, honing their intuitive skills by embracing the idea that their brains are not static but can be rewired with targeted practices. Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich researched this phenomenon and he’s commonly referred to as the Father of Neuroplasticity. He spoke to us in the npnHub sharing that our brains are not fixed entities but are highly adaptable and capable of rewiring, literally.

Unlocking Your Sixth Sense

It all starts with neuroplasticity. This is the key to unlocking your hidden potential, and igniting the creative flames of your imagination. When you understand the intricacies of neuroplasticity, the role of neurotransmitters, and the brain regions involved, you gain insights into your mind’s intuitive capabilities, enabling you to harness your sixth sense with newfound vigor.

Unlocking your sixth sense is an exciting journey, closely intertwined with key neurotransmitters like oxytocin, which is often referred to as the love hormone. Oxytocin is associated with enhancing social function and mood regulation. It not only fosters emotions like trust, empathy, and social bonding but also aligns seamlessly with the cultivation of your intuitive skills, bolstering your journey to harness your sixth sense. The intricate interplay of neurochemicals like oxytocin by researchers such as Paul Zak provides a clear path for exploring and honing your intuitive potential and having a sixth sense of social dynamics.

Stay Curious and Open-Minded

These twin traits, highlighted by experts like Porges, set the stage for neuroplasticity, nurturing cognitive growth and sparking creativity. Cultivating curiosity and an open mind are crucial for leaders who aim to enhance their intuitive capabilities. These qualities foster neuroplasticity, enabling leaders to adapt, learn, and become more creative in their decision-making and problem-solving processes.


Embark on a journey into the world of creative arts, and witness your sixth sense reaching new heights. Here, you’ll discover the power of trusting your instincts, forging unexpected connections, and boldly navigating the uncharted territories of your neuroception.

Empathy, Stroke Your Genius

Empathy is a cornerstone of effective leadership. Developing empathy, as supported by Paul Zak’s research on oxytocin, enhances a leader’s ability to understand and respond to the emotional needs of their team members, thus sharpening their intuitive skills.

Overload Is a Killer

However, beware of the lurking foes of your sixth sense, stress and cognitive overload. These villains can sabotage your newfound powers. To outsmart them, cultivate a growth mindset, summon your resilience, and seek solace in supportive communities (remember the role of neurotransmitters like oxytocin, illuminated by the work of Paul Zak.)

Intuition Essential Reads

Not so Woo-Woo!

Your sixth sense is not pseudo-science. There are serious researchers looking into the field. Dr. Gary Klein is a prominent researcher who leads the exploration of intuition. Klein, author of the book Seeing What Others Don’t, and his research in decision-making and intuition shed light on this cognitive process. He explains that intuition is a swift, subconscious, and intricate mental phenomenon, drawing from sensory input, prior knowledge, and emotional cues.

Your Expert Intuition

Of particular interest is expert intuition, developed through extensive domain-specific experience and practice. This is what we call the sixth sense. Neuroscientists have pinpointed brain regions, such as the insula, prefrontal cortex, and anterior cingulate cortex, as central to intuitive processing. Future studies may delve into different types of intuition and the relationship between intuition and conscious decision-making. The neuroscience of intuition remains an evolving and intriguing field.

Future Directions

While significant progress has been made in understanding intuition in neuroscience, there is still much to learn. Future research may focus on investigating the neural mechanisms underlying different types of intuition, such as social intuition or moral intuition. Stay tuned as we look at the latest research in this area to provide you with the most up-to-date tools and insights for enhancing your intuitive abilities and being a professional, leader, but also simply to be happier.

Embrace your sixth sense, trust your intuition, and embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and creative potential. The power of neuroplasticity is in your hands—unlock your neuroception and let your sixth sense guide you to new horizons.

Leadership consultant Kathleen Joy is the author of Empowerment Amidst Chaos: Master Any Moment with Creativity and Grace.

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