Axel Dyèvre - Associate Partner at CEIS - has written an article on the links among "Intelligence, Human factors and Cognitive biases" in the January 2015 edition of the French Magazine Revue Défense Nationale. This publication is based on the first results of the RECOBIA project funded by the European Union and coordinated by CEIS.
The article is in French, however a courtesy translation of the abstract is available:
Intelligence services actives are focusing on human activities. Their objectives are to anticipate and mitigate threats from non-state organisations such as armed or terrorists groups. This mission is led in a context of high uncertainty and partial knowledge. The importance of the human factor in Intelligence led the European Union to launch a research project untitled « Reduction of the negative impact of cognitive biases in Intelligence analysis » (RECOBIA). Although it is a new topic in Europe, a few studies across the Atlantic have paved the way on the psychology of intelligence analysis.
A cognitive bias is an unconscious intellectual mechanism, which affects every individual. Cognitive biases are the results of the combination between a cognitive situation and a cognitive task. One of the results of the project is the identification of “Key intelligence tasks (KIT)”, basic elementary tasks that every Intelligence officer will go through, and their underlying principle. The workshops organised throughout the project with intelligence professionals aimed at validating the KITs and raise awareness on situations that would trigger cognitive biases.
To reduce the negative impact of cognitive biases, the research led by Daniel Kahneman was also essential in shaping the consortium research in that it theorises the necessity to go from System 1 (intuitive, automatic thinking) to System 2 (slow, critical thinking). The consortium identified sets of solutions to mitigate the negative impact of cognitive biases. They are mainly threefold: tools, training, and organisational methodologies.
Link towards the article: RDN n° 776 - January 2015