Insights: Psychology of Intelligence

I can’t believe it’s not Buddha, either

In my last post I mentioned a Leo Tolstoy “quote”. As you will have worked out, it was completely fake. You may have also worked out that I’m a tiny bit obsessed with fakery and falsehood, or where laziness leads otherwise intelligent people to believe what they read on the internet without critical thought, as…

Intelligence Analysis, Tolstoy and Narratives

I’ve blogged before about the importance, and danger, of “narratives” in delivering intelligence analysis to consumers.  Human beings absorb narratives instinctively, and indeed I think there is a “narrative bias” – if we are told things that are part of a story, we are more inclined to believe it, and indeed if we are writing…

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…

Cognitive Bias in the Forensic Environment

This is a guest post from Donna Crossan, a recent graduate of the MSc course in forensics at Cranfield University who has recently been working at IMSL as an analyst. Why is there a lack of experimental research in cognitive bias and mitigation techniques within the forensic environment? One of the reasons research has declined…

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…

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

The perfect organisation for an intelligence analyst to work for?

Every organisation has its political bias, its “commitment” towards some cause or other, and it is human nature for leaders (and followers) to drive an organisation towards a given goal utilising their other human strengths and weaknesses.

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,…