Give Away: Psychology of Intelligence Analysis

“Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” by Richard J. Heuer Jr. It was published in 1999 for CIA intelligence analysts. The basis of the book is to stress and maintain objectivity for agents when analyzing data.

According to the description: “This book aims to help intelligence analysts achieve a higher level of performance. It shows how people make judgments based on incomplete and ambiguous information, and it offers simple tools and concepts for improving analytical skills…”

Do you recall from the Rex / Sikes NLP Course about cognitive commitments? This asserts that people can be like flys after being trained remain stuck in a jar with an invisible lid on top. (It makes me wonder how many “invisible lids” I have that keeps me from doing all the things I should be doing!)

“Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” was written to remove those “invisible lids,” so agents can see the world objectively. The same should apply to everyone else which is why I want to share this book. Here’s an excerpt:

Heuer emphasizes both the value and the dangers of mental models, or mind-sets. In the book’s opening chapter, entitled “Thinking About Thinking,” he notes that:

[Analysts] 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.

This process may be visualized as perceiving the world through a lens or screen that channels and focuses and thereby may distort the images that are seen. To achieve the clearest possible image . . . analysts need more than information . . . They also need to understand the lenses through which this information passes. These lenses are known by many terms: mental models, mind-sets, biases, or analytic assumptions…

Heuer is addressing cognitive commitments as labeled in the NLP course. Whereas Heuer prefers agents to remove those cognitive commitments through a series of objectivity training exercises, Rex and Sikes are telling people to use them to their advantage by working within your own mental set of parameters to turn bad habits into good ones.

The questions remain: Can people be completely objective? Can people turn all their bad habits into good ones? That’s like asking: “Can people be perfect?” I’m going to let you answer that one.

To that end, I believe that both of these books strike a careful balance between left and right brains. If you can’t be completely objective, you can recalibrate those mental barriers to make them work for you. If you can’t recalibrate all those mental barriers to work for you, then you can practice some objectivity that allows you to focus and solve the problem at hand.

Heuer and I agree with each other; that you can’t just think about it. This is a practice you have to take with you in the field (of your life):

Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But like many other skills, such as riding a bike, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing…

Regular running enhances endurance but does not improve technique without expert guidance. Similarly, expert guidance may be required to modify long-established analytical habits to achieve an optimal level of analytical excellence…

One key to successful learning is motivation. Some of CIA’s best analysts developed their skills as a consequence of experiencing analytical failure early in their careers. Failure motivated them to be more self-conscious about how they do analysis and to sharpen their thinking process….

One of the main concepts in the Rex / Sikes NLP Course is not only imagining your success, but your methods for overcoming adversity to achieve success as well. By the same token, CIA agents are encouraged through their failures, because it sharpens their objectivity towards accurate reporting.

The NLP Course mentions that most people imagine adversity, then stop without imagining how to overcome it because they don’t know how. In that case, you have to go “out in the field” like a CIA agent and ask other people how they overcame the adversity that you’re facing. (You will find many Healing MindNs this way.) You gather as much data as you can, then you come to your own conclusion on how to overcome your particular adversity.

Then there’s the alternate method of going “out in the field” and collecting data; it’s called Remote Viewing wherein you tap into the world matrix of information. As you might know, there are a few stories floating around about the CIA and their Remote Viewing Program; agents MUST be objective when employing an extrasensory device – or else it’s all fantasy. The thing is, self improvement is not their #1 goal.

If you have trouble getting clear pictures in your mind of adversity in different parts of the world, or even your success, the Remote Viewing Course by Gerald O’Donnell will help you. In fact, I’m going to discuss his mp3 downloads with you in another newsletter.

Finally, let me share an excerpt with you on the concept of externalization as written by Heuer:

Decomposition means breaking a problem down into its component parts. That is, indeed, the essence of analysis. Webster?s Dictionary defines analysis as division of a complex whole into its parts or elements.

The spirit of decision analysis is to divide and conquer: Decompose a complex problem into simpler problems, get one?s thinking straight in these simpler problems, paste these analyses together with a logical glue.

Externalization means getting the decomposed problem out of one?s head and down on paper or on a computer screen in some simplified form that shows the main variables, parameters, or elements of the problem and how they relate to each other…

This is what I am attempting to do. By writing my thoughts and theories for others to see, I’m externalizing my ideas on self improvement including pros and cons. From what I’ve experienced so far, more people (on the web) are willing to pass judgement because of their cognitive commitments. I’d prefer more objectivity.

I’d prefer to see more people who are passionate about life and are willing to come up with solutions to the world’s problems using their objective analysis (instead of leaving it to the “experts”).

As you might know, passion is what fires your imagination, so you can see all the good things (as well as overcoming adversity) that need to be seen in your mind’s eye, while your objectivity is what gives that vision clarity.

I want you to have all the necessary tools to make those objective decisions to ask yourself all the right questions to influence your reality and the reality of others for the better.

To get your hands on this report, please subscribe to Way of the MindGate Newsletter. Then you will be redirected to the Refer a Friend page for the download link to this report, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis.

Thank you for your time.


Randolph Fabian Directo
HealingMindN Medicine Man

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