Behavioral and Social Scientific Foundations
Baruch Fischhoff and Cherie Chauvin, Editors
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Grant No. 2008*1199327*000 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2011). Intelligence Analysis: Behavioral and Social Scientific Foundations. B. Fischhoff and C. Chauvin, eds. Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security. Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH TO IMPROVE INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
Baruch Fischhoff (Chair),
Department of Social and Decision Sciences and Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
Hal R. Arkes,
Department of Psychology, Ohio State University
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita,
Department of Politics, New York University and Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University
Chicago Booth Business School, University of Chicago
Edward H. Kaplan,
School of Management, School of Public Health, and School of Engineering and Applied Science, Yale University
Steve W. J. Kozlowski,
Department of Psychology, Michigan State University
Gary H. McClelland,
Department of Psychology, University of Colorado
Kiron K. Skinner,
Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University and Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Barbara A. Spellman,
Department of Psychology and School of Law, University of Virginia
Philip E. Tetlock,
Department of Psychology and Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
Catherine H. Tinsley,
McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles and Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Cherie Chauvin, Study Director
Matthew McDonough, Senior Program Assistant (through April 2010)
Gary Fischer, Senior Program Assistant (from April 2010)
BOARD ON BEHAVIORAL, COGNITIVE, AND SENSORY SCIENCES
Philip E. Rubin (Chair),
Haskins Laboratories and Yale University
Lisa Feldman Barrett,
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University
Linda M. Bartoshuk,
College of Dentistry, University of Florida
Richard J. Bonnie,
Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, University of Virginia
John T. Cacioppo,
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Susan E. Carey,
Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Susan T. Fiske,
Department of Psychology, Princeton University
Nina G. Jablonski,
Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
Patricia K. Kuhl,
Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences and Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington
Jonathan D. Moreno,
Departments of Medical Ethics and History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
Richard E. Nisbett,
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Michael I. Posner,
Department of Psychology, University of Oregon (Emeritus)
Valerie F. Reyna,
Department of Human Development and Psychology, Cornell University
Richard M. Shiffrin,
Psychology Department, Indiana University
Brian A. Wandell,
Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Barbara A. Wanchisen, Director
Mary Ellen O’Connell, Deputy Director
Christie R. Jones, Program Associate
The U.S. intelligence community (IC) is a complex human enterprise whose success depends on how well the people in it perform their work. Although often aided by sophisticated technologies, these people ultimately rely on their own intellect to identify, synthesize, and communicate the information on which the nation’s security depends. Their individual and collective “brainpower” is the human capital of the IC. Their role is the pivotal middle point between gathering information and policy making. The IC’s success depends on having trained, motivated, and thoughtful people working within organizations able to understand, value, and coordinate their capabilities.
For a century or more, the behavioral and social sciences have studied how individuals and groups perform these fundamental intellectual processes. That research has found that people perform some of these tasks much better than others. In some cases, the research has demonstrated ways to overcome weaknesses (e.g., through training or structuring analytical processes); in other cases, the research has identified problems that reflect limits to analysis that are important for decision makers to understand as aspects of the uncertainties that they face.
Recognizing the potential value of this research, the Office of Analytic Integrity and Standards of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) requested the National Research Council (NRC), through its Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, to form a committee to synthesize and assess the behavioral and social science research evidence relevant to (1) critical problems of individual and group judgment
and of communication by intelligence analysts and (2) the kinds of analytic processes that are employed or have potential in addressing these problems.
To this end, the Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security has produced a consensus report, Intelligence Analysis for Tomorrow: Advances from the Behavioral and Social Sciences, summarizing its analysis and presenting its conclusions and recommendations, and this collection of individually authored papers, which presents the more detailed evidentiary base for the committee’s conclusions and recommendations.
The papers in this collection represent the individual work of committee members, with two (Chapters 7 and 11) involving collaborations with colleagues having related expertise. The papers summarize research relevant to recruiting, cultivating, deploying, and retaining human capital. The specific topics in this volume were selected by the committee as central to the IC’s mission.
The first chapter sets the context for the volume by describing the analytic process, in terms of its behavioral and social demands. The remaining chapters provide critical assessments of the science relevant to meeting those demands, organized into the three essential elements of successful analysis, analytic methods (Chapter 2–5), analysts (Chapter 6–9), and organizations (Chapter 10–13).
The committee envisions this volume as a resource for the IC’s leadership and workforce, to help the IC to develop its own programs and be a critical consumer of services secured externally. The committee also envisions this volume being used by the broader audience of those who teach, study, and perform analysis. Even more broadly, the papers in this volume may benefit researchers and educators in other domains who face similarly complex, uncertain analytical problems, such as technological risk management, entrepreneurship, and international development.
In addition to specific acknowledgements made by the authors in their individual chapters, the NRC wishes to thank several individuals who assisted in preparing this collection of papers. Among the NRC staff, special thanks are due to Barbara Wanchisen and Mary Ellen O’Connell who provided oversight and support of the study. Two senior program assistants, Matthew McDonough and Gary Fischer, provided administrative and logistic support over the course of the study. We also thank an NRC consultant, Laura Penny, for her work in the final editing of the collection. Finally we thank the executive office reports staff of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, especially Eugenia Grohman, who provided valuable help with the editing and production of the report, and Kirsten Sampson Snyder, who managed the report review process.
Each paper has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with
procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Nancy J. Cooke, Applied Psychology Program, Arizona State University; Susan T. Fiske, Department of Psychology, Princeton University; John Gannon, Global Analysis, BAE Systems, McLean, VA; Robert L. Jervis, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Tania Lambrozo, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley; John McLaughlin, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Jonathan Moreno, Department of History and Sociology of Science, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania; Scott E. Page, Santa Fe Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Charles Perrow, Department of Sociology (emeritus), Yale University; Paul R. Pillar, Security Studies Program, Georgetown University; Stephen M. Robinson, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (emeritus), University of Wisconsin, Madison; R. Scott Rodgers, Behavioral Influences Analysis Flight (GTRB), National Air and Space Intelligence Center; Frank Yates, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the papers, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this collection of papers was overseen by Richard J. Bonnie, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, University of Virginia. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the papers was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this publication rests entirely with the authors and the institution.
Baruch Fischhoff, Chair
Cherie Chauvin, Study Director
Committee on Behavioral and Social Science Research to Improve Intelligence Analysis for National Security
Operations Research and Intelligence Analysis
Applications of Game Theory in Support of Intelligence Analysis
Qualitative Analysis for the Intelligence Community
Intuitive Theories of Behavior
Group Processes in Intelligence Analysis
Social Categorization and Intergroup Dynamics
Communicating About Analysis
Structuring Accountability Systems in Organizations: Key Trade-Offs and Critical Unknowns
Workforce Effectiveness: Acquiring Human Resources and Developing Human Capital