The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis : [PDF Download]

PDF Title:The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis
Author:Richards J. Heuer Jr.
Total Page:214 Pages
PDF Size:1.54 MB
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“Understanding of the analytic process has been distorted by the mosaic metaphor commonly used to describe it. According to the mosaic theory of intelligence, small pieces of information are collected that, when put together like a mosaic or jigsaw puzzle, eventually enable analysts to perceive a clear picture of reality.

The analogy suggests that accurate estimates depend primarily upon having all the pieces, that is, upon accurate and relatively complete information. It is important to collect and store the small pieces of information, as these are the raw material from which the picture is made; one never knows when it will be possible for an astute analyst to fit a piece into the puzzle.

Part of the rationale for large technical intelligence collection systems is rooted in this mosaic theory. Insights from cognitive psychology suggest that intelligence analysts do not work this way and that the most difficult analytical tasks cannot be approached in this manner.

Analysts commonly find pieces that appear to fit many different pictures. Instead of a picture emerging from putting all the pieces together, analysts typically form a picture first and then select the pieces to fit. Accurate estimates depend at least as much upon the mental model used in forming the picture as upon the number of pieces of the puzzle that have been collected.

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