I see what you mean, I think--but for me, those good listening/observing/etc skills are all a part of intuition. This is what I meant when I earlier mentioned the rapid processing of information, so fast you're not even aware it's going on before you have the answer. Later, I can most always go back and figure out how I knew what I knew (not that I often try--I more often simply trust--just that it's possible). I think we all pick up on a lot more info from people than we ever realize--pheromones, subtle shifts of expression or body language, changes in their pulse rate or pupil dilation, body temp or vocal tone--or with buying a car, say, subtle sounds in the engine, etc--and this is info we process in our bodies with corresponding reactions/responses (like--someone is getting quite angry but still 'sounds' calm--and you find your own adrenaline rushing anyway; the car 'seems great', but you're nervous about it anyway). Here, I don't mean the obvious stuff necessarily (like a loud tone or raised, clenched fists or an engine obviously straining), but the more subtle and hard to consciously pinpoint signals. Or again, we are reminded without realizing it, of something we read/heard somewhere once, that applies to a current situation.
A pp (who gave the definitions of 'rational' and 'intuition') seems to make the point that there are clear boundaries beteen the rational and intuitive--and even the definitions back up that notion. But I disagree. I think that intuition simply isn't easy to track rationally, especially in the moment. Rational, logical people who need the conscious awareness of 'thinking something through, marshalling the facts, etc', have a hard time believing that intuitive flashes could be rational at all (or at least, inclusive of rationality). I think it depends too on what you're calling 'rational'--sensing someone's pheromones (let's just say it could be proven in a particular case), is a body experience that we are not always conscious of, it is still a fact and yet not a thinking thing. It is a real and logically, factually trackable event nonetheless.
I think of rationality as linear, and as analytic/separative; it is 'goal oriented' and it uses the faculty of taking things apart mentally to examine, compare, calculate (profits, risks, etc). Rationality tends to be number, word and concept oriented...like the idea of making a list of pros and cons about a situation, to try to make a decision--this is a rational, logical exercise with a distinct goal in mind (choosing yes or no). And I think of intuition as spherical, synthesizing, inclusive--it is 'understanding oriented', using the ability to simply notice all of what information is available, and to try to grasp all the elements and the interconnections among elements involved so as to fully see and feel the situation. Intuition is most always more visually and emotionally oriented rather than oriented to words or numbers, also more oriented to the body (as in those physical cues mentioned earlier). Though intuition can and does provide 'yes' or 'no' type of answers, it is far more likely to provide 'yes', 'no' and 'other'--new ideas/realizations entirely, from the original question's intent.
That said, I have to agree with others that there are distinct times when I receive information that I consider neither rational nor intuitive, but is instead a direct communication from the spirit world. Whether you call this Jesus or the Holy Spirit, your Spirit Guides or channeling or 'possession', to me this is another separate category altogether. In my experience, it is much more often the generally intuitive types who receive this sort of transmission than the rational types of people. Not always--but let's face it, the rational types would have a hard time hearing such info in the first place, and a harder time believing it otherwise since it cannot be tracked logically at all! Not to overly generalize, nor to say this with criticism but only as an observation--but rational types most often tend to more rigid and tightly constructed in personality, whereas the intuitive types are more flexible and open.
Don't take this as a compliment or a criticism--there are purposes and benefits to all kinds of ways of being--and perhaps all of us would benefit from balance, anyway. When I say rigid, I only mean that the rational types are usually more oriented to rules, schedules and structures and things making logical sense; this can create true brilliance in some ways, and certainly more organized effective lives in certain ways. This type might make a great leader of an organization or economic theory--or a wonderfully organized homeschool mom. Of course, there is also such a thing as being too rigid--closed, stuck, judgemental, not open to change or differences. When I say flexible and open, I mean people less inclined toward rules and outer-imposed structures, people who can think outside the box--which can also prompt another kind of brilliance in thinking. This type might make a great artist or philosopher or counsellor--or a scattered but effectively supportive unschool mom. And there is such a thing as 'too flexible', which can lead to wishy washiness, poor personal boundaries, being too disorganized to be effective in life. Just to try to clarify that in using these terms, I am NOT implying that one is better than the other--what works well, and is of value to self and others, is all in the person being that way. But also saying that the open, flexible type seems to me to be more inclined to be both more intuitive, and more inclined to hear messages that arise from outside the self (spirit world/ethers).
The story about knowing the van was going to back up, and yelling out--to me this was a message from the angels that mom heard and responded to. Me, I'm perfectly willing to believe that there are plenty of 'other' beings around us, those we can't see and at least some of which are happy to help us when they can. Mind you, I'm not into channelers and I don't pursue info that is rampant now from the legion of channelers available to us today. I prefer my spirit communication to be more personal, thanks! I don't believe I need a channeler to help me live, any more than I think I need a priest or guru to connect me with 'god'...but I sure do believe in what my Catholic ancestors refer to as Guardian Angels, and what currently is often called Spirit Guides. Anyway, just to reiterate that to me, intuition does arise from within, based on all possible info available to us, whether we know that information consciously or not--and that we also can receive accurate knowledge from another realm.
Great discussion, thanks all for your input!