Cognitive and Perceptual Biases in Intelligence Analysis
COGNITIVE AND PERCEPTUAL BIASES IN INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS 1
Cognitive and Perceptual Biases inIntelligence Analysis
What approaches can an analystuse to reduce cognitive and perceptual biases?
Whether we mean to or not, we tendto bias with nearly everything. Partly, it is because of how we werebrought up, and partly because of how the rest of the world makes ussee things. As a result of this, these biases will never go away.Nonetheless, there are ways to reduce it. According to the differentintelligence processes, "Analysts should seek information fromthe widest possible range of these sources to avoid bias and improveaccuracy and completeness." These processes include measurementand signature, signals, open source, human, as well as geospatialintelligence. Combining all these methods enables the analysts to seethe information from different perspectives, and also helps inreducing biases of cognitive and perceptual origin (Heuer, 1999).
The analysts can also lessen therisk of intelligence failure by using structured analyticaltechniques to mitigate cognitive biases. The use of the analyticprocess to approach intelligent analysis assists in leveling theground field throughout the intelligence community. The function ofintelligence is to supply the analysts with an understanding ofdevelopments and provide them with the information necessary toimprove judgment before making decisions. Structured analytictechniques are categorized into three. Diagnostic techniques areintended to make assumptions or arguments, are used first, and helpin articulating a hypothesis. Contrarian techniques are designed toevaluate current thinking, mainly what the analyst is thinking.Lastly are the imaginative thinking skills, which compels theanalysts into considering substitute hypotheses (Swami, Voracek,Stieger, Tran & Furnham, 2014).
There exist twenty-three identifiedAnalytic Structure Techniques that can be used by intelligenceanalysts, and are designed to help them with the intricacy ofreal-time events, different, sufficient, and insufficient data. Thesetechniques overcome bias by revealing alternative points of view,bringing about a re-evaluation of primary obstacles and stipulatinguncertainty degrees (Swami et al., 2014).
Heuer, R. (1999). ImprovingIntelligence Analysis. Psychology of intelligence analysis.Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. Retrieved fromhttps://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/PsychofIntelNew.pdf
Swami, V., Voracek, M., Stieger,S., Tran, U. S., & Furnham, A. (2014). Analytic thinking reducesbelief in conspiracy theories. Cognition,133(3), 572-585.
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