Psychology of Intelligence Analysis


Richard J. Heuer, Jr. (Editor)

Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY008000

With intelligence now getting a front-row seat in governments around the world, this book is especially timely. Intelligence rains in, but without an understanding of the nature of the intelligence, it accumulates in puddles of obscurity. The problems therefore seem to be how to obtain it, how to understand it, and how to sell it to one’s bosses. This book deals with how to understand it. Three fundamental points are at the heart of this presentation about the cognitive challenges intelligence analysts face: The mind is poorly “wired” to deal effectively with both inherent uncertainty (the natural fog surrounding complex, indeterminate intelligence issues) and induced uncertainty (the man-made fog fabricated by denial and deception operations). Even increased awareness of cognitive and other “unmotivated” biases, such as the tendency to see information confirming an already-held judgment more vividly than one sees “disconfirming” information, does little by itself to help analysts deal effectively with uncertainty. Tools and techniques that gear the analyst’s mind to apply higher levels of critical thinking can substantially improve analysis on complex issues on which information is incomplete, ambiguous, and often deliberately distorted. Key examples of such intellectual devices include techniques for structuring information, challenging assumptions, and exploring alternative interpretations. This book was first issued by the CIA. (Imprint: Novinka)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

(Douglas MacEachin)


Introduction: Improving Intelligence Analysis at CIA: Dick Heuer’s Contribution to Intelligence Analysis, pp. 1-12
(Jack Davis)


Chapter 1. Thinking about Thinking, pp. 15-19
Chapter 2. Perception: Why Can’t We See What is There to Be Seen?, pp. 22-29
Chapter 3. Memory: How Do We Remember What We Know?, pp. 31-43


Chapter 4. Strategies for Analytical Judgment: Transcending the Limits of Incomplete Information, pp. 47-63
Chapter 5. Do You Really Need More Information?, pp. 65-75
Chapter 6. Keep an Open Mind, pp. 77-94
Chapter 7. Structuring Analytical Problems, pp. 95-103
Chapter 8. Analysis of Competing Hypothesis, pp. 105-118


Chapter 9. What Art Cognitive Biases, pp. 121-123
Chapter 10. Biases in Evaluation of Evidence, pp. 125-134
Chapter 11. Biases in Perception of Cause and Effect, pp. 135-152
Chapter 12. Biases in Estimating Probabilities, pp. 153-164
Chapter 13. Hindsight Biases in Evaluation of Intelligence Reporting, pp. 165-175


Chapter 14. Improving Intelligence Analysis, pp. 179-205



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