Friday, April 3, 2009

The Intelligence Analysts Toolkit

I need to create a formal "toolkit" for analyzing games, schedules, and circumstances.  I'm reading a book that my friend sent me, that is one of the CIA's reference books for intelligence analysts.  That is essentially what a sports bettor is: an intelligence analyst.   It is titled Psychology of Intelligence Analysis and can be found here.

A theory is a generalization based on the study of many examples of some phenomenon. It specifies that when a given set of conditions arises, certain other conditions will follow either with certainty or with some degree of probability. In other words, conclusions are judged to follow from a set of conditions and a finding that these conditions apply in the specific case being analyzed.

An analyst seeks understanding of current events by comparing them with historical precedents in the same country, or with similar events in other countries

Objectivity is gained by making assumptions explicit so that they may be examined and challenged, not by vain efforts to eliminate them from analysis.

Failure To Consider Diagnosticity of Evidence. In the absence of a complete set of alternative hypotheses, it is not possible to evaluate the "diagnosticity" of evidence. Unfortunately, many analysts are unfamiliar with the concept of diagnosticity of evidence. It refers to the extent to which any item of evidence helps the analyst determine the relative likelihood of alternative hypotheses.  Evidence is diagnostic when it influences an analyst's judgment on the relativelikelihood of the various hypotheses

Scientific method is based on the principle of rejecting hypotheses, while tentatively accepting only those hypotheses that cannot be refuted. Intuitive analysis, by comparison, generally concentrates on confirming a hypothesis and commonly accords more weight to evidence supporting a hypothesis than to evidence that weakens it.  (I think I do this (although I am in the formative stage of hypothesizing)).

Stech notes that in each of these highly successful efforts, the analysts employed procedures that "... facilitated the formulation and testing against each other of alternative hypothetical estimates of enemy intentions. Each of the three accounts stressed this pitting of competing hypotheses against the evidence."

This is basically the summary from Chapter four.  Some very interesting material, for sure.  

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