Posted By AIRIP President,
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
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A few weeks back, I was listening to an episode of the "You Are Not So Smart
" podcast. As the podcast progressed, I found myself thinking, "wow, how relevant" and "what a great conversation piece surrounding divisiveness on really, any issue." Then, near the end of the episode, I asked myself "what could this mean for the risk intelligence professional?" A few things crossed my mind, but I needed to go to the experts...
Maria Robson, a PhD Candidate, Lecturer and Intelligence Professional, graciously accepted my ask for her thoughts regarding my question as it relates to this podcast episode:
"As analysts, we always have to be aware of the potential for the way we phrase questions to influence the answers we get back. When teaching research and analytical techniques, and when surveying intelligence professionals (including AIRIP members!) I choose my wording carefully to avoid priming or framing effects. But despite these efforts, I know that every word choice will inevitably affect the responses. This is important for asking others questions, and also for reflecting on our own assessments, as we may have been primed or framed by our environment or experiences. The dress discussion, however, gets at systematic influences, or internal differences, that can lead us to different perceptions of seemingly objective phenomena, such as color. Political psychologists (such as Robert Jervis) have explored the potential for personal experiences to shape intelligence analysts' perceptions. Pascal Wallisch's work on the dress raises the concerning prospect that apparently objective questions (such as the color of your socks in a photo) can be answered differently based on the respondent's past experiences. And this may, alarmingly, include habitual behavior that we would expect to be uncorrelated, such as whether we're early birds or night owls. If we can disagree about colors, this underscores the importance of thoughtful, systematic analysis for questions that already involve a high level of subjectivity."
Check out the podcast and let us know your thoughts!
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