Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"New" Version Of Psychology Of Intelligence Analysis Released (Pherson.org)

I don't know how I missed it but Dick Heuer and Randy Pherson (of Pherson Associates) apparently teamed up some time ago to come out with a re-print of Dick's classic, The Psychology Of Intelligence Analysis. We use it (along with Clark's Intelligence Analysis: A Target Centric Approach and Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets To Policy) in our freshman classes as a textbook and have had to rely on the web version of the text on the CIA's site since the original version is out of print.

If you are not familiar with this book, then you owe it to yourself to read it immediately. Our students really enjoy it as it is easy to read, interesting and informative. Most of them are only vaguely aware of how their cognitive biases can impact their analysis and the book is a real eye-opener. It also contains the most lucid description of the Analysis Of Competing Hypotheses method available.

I have heard a rumor that Dick is working on a updated version of the book but until that one comes out you can order individual copies from Amazon or Pherson Associates and bulk orders from Pherson (You'll need to get in line behind me, though...).

Related Posts:
What Do Words Of Estimative Probability Mean?


Jeff Dexter said...

Funny. Someone gave me Heur's book over the weekend. I haven't been able to put it down since. You're absolutely right a very informative and thought-provoking book, especially the figures/exercises.

Todd said...

Heuer's book is wonderful, and relevant. One of the problems I have with it, and others, however, is that knowing a bias is there, or that one could fall prey to a given heuristic takes us only part of the way, though granted-forewarned is forearmed.

What I'd like to be able to do is to wed specific Biases and Heuristics to specific mitigation strategies or techniques, and display this usefully to my students. Some are no-brainers: Confirmation Bias? ACH might help. Availability heuristic? Take 10 deep breaths and then answer etc.

"Structured Analysis," ACH being one of the techniques, is touted as the way to deal with bias, but the high fidelity connections between bias and the various strategies is lacking. Most structured analysis I've seen and used is more about discovery, than bias mitigation, imo.

Great that it made the Boing.