Thanks to this answer here, I now know the commonly accepted definition of a scale.
However, from my experience, not all scales feel instinctive. For instance, I think major and minor scales feel more instinctive than chromatic ones. This is actually an interesting distinction because I personally prefer major scales to minor ones, yet I feel they are both very instinctive. I also feel that microtonal scales are less instinctive than chromatic ones.
This answer seems to touch on this a bit. But that particular thread is more about "why seven notes in the major/minor scale?" as opposed to "can we rank scales by how". For instance, if microtonal scales were equally pleasing as the normal major scale, then that answer wouldn't make sense if I understand it correctly. So I think it might be possible to rank scales by how instinctive or natural or pleasing they are. I will use these terms interchangeably unless someone convinces me otherwise.
My Question: What studies have been done to measure the instinctiveness of scales?
I cannot provide a definition of instinctive at the moment, but I would argue the second answer cited in my question has something close to what I am thinking of.