Insights: Human Factors

Conspiracy theories, Cognitive Bias and Intelligence Analysis

An intertesting article here relating to conspiracy theories and their worryingly increasing prevalence. The ease with which barking mad, crazy or just slightly twisted stories can be “broadcast” to the world worries me.   And the fact that people can easily find stories which they believe confirms their suspicions is more worrying.  There is a part…

Avoiding Cognitive Biases in Intelligence Analysis

There is an excellent article in this month’s “Nature” journal about the way in which scientists fall foul of cognitive biases in the analysis of their scientific data.  This matter has an exact read-across into intelligence analysis where the same cognitive biases of course apply. The article provides some key techniques for countering these cognitive…

Deja Vu, UFO

Last week the Economist published this article noting a possible correlation from US UFO reporting data between the consumption of alcohol and the sightings of UFOs.  (That’s the humans that may have been drinking not the aliens, we suppose.) Now, avid readers of this blog may remember that back in March 2012, the one and only…

Practical Management Techniques for reducing Cognitive Biases in Intelligence Organisations

Rooting out cognitive biases in the intelligence analysis business needs much more than sticking a post-it note on your computer screen. One of the more interesting aspects of the work IMSL does is helping organisations develop management techniques for the intelligence process. With one or two notable exceptions, most intelligence analysts and most intelligence organisations are very prone to cognitive biases

Challenging the consumer of intelligence

At some stage in every intelligence analysts life (and sometimes very frequently) the intelligence analyst is placed in a position where the consumer of the intelligence they are providing their product to holds firmly held views which are incorrect.  In some cases the consumer of intelligence is looking to the analysts to confirm their views,…

Intelligence Analysts – every manager’s worst nightmare?

There was a very interesting article in the New Scientist recently called “just following orders – why good people do bad things” which seeks to re-evaluate the notion the ‘banality of evil’ – the idea that evil acts are not necessarily perpetrated by evil people, but by ordinary people who blindly follow orders. There was…