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Order out of Chaos
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  1. Order out of Chaos • The intelligence process must cast a wide net of data in order to support its policy mission • Data from a wide variety of subjects, and entities must be collected and examine to see if there is a matter of concern for the policy arena of the analyst. • The analyst must take a chaotic barrage of data and see patterns and behaviors in it.

  2. The Intelligence process • The intelligence process is similar to the research process • Yet it has a different set of goals • It produces a product for a consumer • It anticipates a policy decisions or set of decisions must be made based on the information

  3. The Intelligence Process

  4. A Client centered Model • Client • Data Collection • Collation – Organization • Iterative process • Analysis • Client Iteration – • redefinition • Refinement • Analytic Product

  5. The Client • The client provides the general problem • It may be a policy issue • It may be a specific threat assessment

  6. Perception • We tend to perceive what we expect to perceive. • A corollary of this principle is that it takes more information, and more unambiguous information, to recognize an unexpected phenomenon than an expected on. • (Heuer, http://www.cia.gov/csi/books/19104/art5.html)

  7. Cognition • The Mind is a functioning organ that produces cognition or thinking • Thinking seems to be a set of processes • Perception • Memory • Reasoning • There are very real limits on these skills/capacities

  8. Cognition • We process information according to some basic underlying cognitive algorithms. • These algorithms help us process large chunks of information. • For example:

  9. Perception and Complex Systems • We process information according to cognitive algorithms • We speed information processing by various shorthand algorithms such as • Encoding • Mind-sets

  10. Mind-sets • A mind-set is an expected pattern • They are both necessary and problematic • A mind set is a lens or perceptual filter that classifies perceptions efficiently for rapid cognition. • As a result, when information lies outside the bounds of the mind-set, one of three things happens: • It is misinterpreted • It is discarded • It bogs down the cognitive process

  11. Mind-sets tend to be quick to form but resistant to change.

  12. Image persistence

  13. Optical Illusions

  14. The eye manages information in Packages

  15. Learning and Illusions

  16. Perception is a learned skill • Our mind learns to see with stereoscopic vision • It does so by approximately 2 years of age • Not everyone acquires this ability

  17. Cognitive Dissonance • Cognitive Dissonance is routinely encountered in thinking • It is when information counter to the beliefs or expectations of the perceiver is is encountered, it is either discarded, ignored or treated as false.

  18. Fundamental attribution error • When others do something that bothers us, we see them as evil • When we do something that bothers evil, we see this as a matter of no choice, or boxed in by circumstances.

  19. Availability principle • We evaluate input in terms of our own experience and cognitive memory

  20. The dot puzzle

  21. The solution to the dot puzzle

  22. A more creative solution to the dot puzzle

  23. Break that cognitive mold!

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  25. Sensory perception • 5 (?) Senses • Vision • Hearing • Taste • Smell • Feel

  26. Perceptual Channels • Sensory input is perceived through various channels • These channels have capacity limits • That capacity seems to remarkable close to “7” bits of information. • Below 7 we “subitize” • Above 7 we estimate • To get around these limits, we recode into chunks.

  27. Vision • Modes of visual input • Color • RGB • Red Blue Yellow • magenta, cyan, and yellow • Brightness • Length • Length x width x breadth = volume • Other ? • Depth perception

  28. Hearing • Amplitude • Pitch • Timbre • Perhaps just non-pitch non-amplitude noise • The “wastebasket” attribute – everything after you extract amplitude and pitch • Duration

  29. Taste • 4 categories (Channels) • Sweet • Salt • Bitter • Sour • Umami • Possibly fat

  30. Smell • The Seven Odors (?) • Camphoric - Mothballs • Musky - Perfume/Aftershave • Roses - Floral • Pepperminty - Mint Gum • Etheral - Dry Cleaning Fluid • Pungent - Vinegar • Putrid - Rotten Eggs

  31. Touch • Pressure • Texture • Dryness • Heat

  32. Other senses • Kinesthetic sense • Balance • Pain • ??

  33. Decision Making • We tend to think of decision making as a rational process • Costs and benefits are weighed and we pick the highest values option • This has come to be called the “Rational Actor” model

  34. The role of perception • Jervis challenges the rational-choice view of international relations by arguing that misperception can undermine the real-world accuracy of game theoretic models.

  35. Some General Hypotheses on Decision Making • From Robert Jervis. 1968. Hypotheses on misperception. World Politics 20 (April): 454-79. • Hypotheses • Hypothesis 1: "Decision-makers tend to fit incoming information into their existing theories and images." • Hypothesis 2: There are two ways to make mistakes: One is to not change your views in the face of conflicting information, the other is to be too willing to do so. Both scholars and decision-makes are more likely to do the first (not to change their views). • Hypothesis 3: It's easier to integrate contradicting information into your image if it comes bit-by-bit than if it comes all at once. So deliver it all at once, as a fully-formed competing theory that must be reckoned with. • Hypothesis 4: Misperception is easiest to correct if an actor is miscategorized (but the category exists in your head) (e.g. Britain was aware of the category of expansionist states, but it didn't think Hitler belonged in it); it is hardest to correct if your mind completely lacks a certain category (e.g. China in the 19th century didn't know what to make of the West) • Hypothesis 5: If the sender (of a message) has something different on his mind (the "evoked set") than the receiver does, misunderstanding is likely. • Hypothesis 6: The more time I spend drawing up a plan, the more clear it is to me. So I will assume it is equally clear to you, making misperception on your part even more likely. • Hypothesis 7: An action may convey an unintended message if the action itself doesn't turn out as planned.

  36. Jervis’ Hypotheses about Perception • Hypotheses about Perception • Hypothesis 8: Decision-makers tend to see other states as more hostile than they are. • Hypothesis 9: We tend to assume that the behavior of others is more centralized and coordinated than it is (related to hyp. 7). • Hypothesis 10: Similarly, we tend to take the foreign ministry's position as representative of the government as a whole. • Hypothesis 11: When states do something we like, we give ourselves too much credit for getting them to do so; when states do something we don't like, we attribute it mostly to internal (domestic) forces. • Hypothesis 12: When I don't try to conceal my intentions, I assume that you accurately perceive them. • Hypothesis 13 "Suggests that if it is hard for an actor to believe that the other can see him as a menace, it is often even harder for him to see that issues important to him are not important to others. • Hypothesis 14: We tend to forget that a single bit of evidence might support more than one view, including opposing views. See also Allison on this point.

  37. Organizational pathologies • Groupthink • Bureaucratic politics • Secrecy and compartmentalization • In National Security, these may be more problematic than in research

  38. Intelligence failures • Pearl Harbor • German invasion of Sudetenland • German invasion of Russia • Chinese attack in Korean war • Tet Offensive • The 1973 Arab-Israeli war • The 1982 Argentinean invasion of the Falklands • Iraqi invasion of Kuwait • 9/11 • WMD in Iraq

  39. More About Intelligence failures • Sources of Failure • Ambiguity of evidence • Collection methods • Contradictions • Linguistic/cultural/Definitional constraints • Ambivalence of Judgment • There is always an expert to support any side of any issue • Hedging one’s bets becomes a compelling maintenance of the status quo

  40. Intelligence Failures due to Institutional Paralysis or Ennui • Reforms happen.. • And standardization generally means that the same processes emerge out of the different structure. • Because reforms occur because of idiosyncratic errors (however catastrophic) the day-to -day functioning of an agency must resort to SOPs that inevitably encumber the intelligence process.