Psychology Of Intelligence Analysis Annotated: Making Things Visible by Tropical Value Investing

I recently ended up reading Psychology of Intelligence Analysis from Richard Heuer, based on a compilation of declassified articles from the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence, prepared for intelligence analysts and CIA directors. My previous post was about the analyst job in a series of posts that I try to lay down the most relevant lessons from the book.

Psychology Of Intelligence Analysis – Making Thinking Visible

  • “Intelligence analysts should be self-conscious about their reasoning process.”
  • “The analyst operates from a set of assumptions about human nature and what drives people and groups. Those are like to remain implicit in the analysis.”
  • “The question is not whether one’s prior assumptions and expectations influence analysis, but only whether these influences are made explicit or remain implicit.”
  • “One’s attention tends to focus on what is reported rather than what is NOT reported. It requires a conscious effort to think about what is missing but should be present if a given hypothesis were true.” 
  • “Assumptions are fine as long as they are made explicit in your analysis and you analyze the sensitivity of your conclusions to those assumptions.”



Full article here more below Tropical Value Investing

The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis has been required reading for intelligence officers studying the art and science of intelligence analysis for decades. Richards Heuer, Jr. discusses in the book how fundamental limitations in human mental processes can prompt people to jump to conclusions and employ other simplifying strategies that lead to predictably faulty judgments known as cognitive biases. These analytic mindsets cannot be avoided, but they can be overcome through the application of more structured and rigorous analytic techniques including the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.

Psychology of Intelligence Analysis

Psychology of Intelligence Analysis by Richards J. Heuer Jr.