RECOBIA - Reduction of Cognitive Biases in Intelligence Analysis

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In this page you can see links to external resources.


Source: Overcoming Bias Blog

Date: 5 December 2012

A lot of our biases come, I think, from expecting real life to be like fiction. For example, when we have negative opinions on important subjects, we tend too much to expect that we should explicitly and directly express those negative opinions in a dramatic conversation scene. We should speak our mind, make it clear, talk it through, etc. This usually a bad idea. We also tend to feel bad about ourselves when we notice that we avoid confrontation, and back off when from things we want when we encounter resistance. But such retreat is usually for the best.


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Source: Penn State University

Date: November 14, 2012

"Game-playing may help intelligence analysts with the serious business of identifying biases that can cloud decision-making and problem-solving during life-or-death situations, according to researchers".

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Source: Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst

Date: 21 November 2012

Your mind is lying to you. It is making you believe things that aren’t true, to see and hear things that aren’t real. And that’s poison to an intelligence analyst. Knowing that human beings often look at situations in biased and misleading ways, Kristan Wheaton, J.D., associate professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurst University, sought to find a technique for mitigating biases that his students bring to their analyses. He invented a game.

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Source: CIA

Date: 1999

"The process of perception links people to their environment and is criti- cal to accurate understanding of the world about us. Accurate intelligence analysis obviously requires accurate perception. Yet research into human per- ception demonstrates that the process is beset by many pitfalls. Moreover, the circumstances under which intelligence analysis is conducted are precisely the circumstances in which accurate perception tends to be most difficult. "

Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (PDF - 1,9MB)


Source: CIA

Date: 2009

This primer highlights structured analytic techniques—some widely used in the private sector and academia, some unique to the intelligence profession. It is not a comprehensive overview of how intelligence officers conduct analysis. Rather, the primer highlights how structured analytic techniques can help one challenge judgments, identify mental mindsets, stimulate creativity, and manage uncertainty. In short, incorporating regular use of techniques such as these can enable one to structure thinking for wrestling with difficult questions.

A Tradecraft Primer: Structured Analytic Techniques for Improving Intelligence Analysis (PDF, 425.5KB)


by Robert F. Wolf

Source: Harvard Business Review Blog

Date: September 24, 2012

"Every day, senior managers are tasked with making very significant strategic decisions for their companies, which usually require support by teams of internal and external experts and a heavy dose of research. Theoretically, knowledge-based decision making underpins every successful organization. But, as Plato pointed out, "Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge." First-hand experience and best sellers like Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow have confirmed an even broader range of behavioral vulnerabilities and vagaries in our abilities to make decisions as human beings".

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Source: Small Wars Journal

Date: 21 September 2012

Abstract: The U.S. military’s community of intelligence analysts has not been trained, manned, or resourced to adequately cope with an increasingly demanding set of responsibilities brought on by technological advances and the imperatives of fighting an irregular foe.  The result is a uniformed analytic community that, with some exceptions, lacks institutional expertise and struggles to provide commanders with meaningful intelligence products.  Correcting these analytical shortfalls requires the recognition that successful analysts possess a rare skill-set that must be sustained and nurtured over time.  The services should create a separate analytical career field with more rigorous selection criteria, tougher schools, and more rewarding billet assignments than those currently available.  Personnel with a talent for intelligence should be competitively selected and nurtured throughout their time in uniform.  While this will require a significant investment in time and resources, the result will be a highly-proficient analytic community capable of providing greater clarity to commanders and leaders.

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Source: OvercomingBias Blog

Date: September 5, 2012

"Information storage and communication increases our ability to discover and accumulate knowledge. And if Stephen Pinker is to be believed, humans have become more peaceful over time. However, the connection between better access to information and our softer world is dubious..."

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Source: Innovation Management

Date: July 31, 2012

The top management team of an organization is arguably the most important team for deciding and implementing innovation strategies. They typically decide which markets to be entered, which markets to be exited, and which new technologies to pursue. But decision making is fraught with biases – errors in judgment that affect the quality of decisions. Sometimes with devastating results. In this post we will see how basic human psychology affects the decision making of top management teams.

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