The CIA has made available its guide to the psychology of intelligence data analysis. The cover features a tasteful Rorschach blot of an eagle… no, wait, it’s a skull… or an elephant.
Or could it be… oh my god…
Intelligence analysts, in seeking to make sound judgments, are always under challenge from the complexities of the issues they address and from the demands made on them for timeliness and volume of production…
How many times have we encountered situations in which completely plausible premises, based on solid expertise, have been used to construct a logically valid forecast–with virtually unanimous agreement–that turned out to be dead wrong?
A central focus of this book is to illuminate the role of the observer in determining what is observed and how it is interpreted. People construct their own version of “reality” on the basis of information provided by the senses, but this sensory input is mediated by complex mental processes that determine which information is attended to, how it is organized, and the meaning attributed to it. What people perceive, how readily they perceive it, and how they process this information after receiving it are all strongly influenced by past experience, education, cultural values, role requirements, and organizational norms, as well as by the specifics of the information received.
Grab it here
via Ben Goldacre