I have been hoarding some gems. All three relate to science and the foundations of belief and knowledge, so they should be of interest to all scientists. This is the first: how do our cognitive biases lead us to the wrong conclusions? The CIA explain.

Intelligence from spies, bugs, embassies and media monitoring might seem a world away from science, but it is really just a particularly noisy, patchy and incomplete type of data. Spotting meaningful patterns can be vitally important, but it is easy to be misled, and humans have particular problems (“cognitive biases”) which make us prone to misinterpretation.

This 1999 manual by the CIA’s Richards J. Heuer explains cognitive biases in the context of the analysis of intelligence. It is accessible, interesting and equally applicable to the interpretation of incomplete and noisy scientific data – the James Bond aspect just makes it more interesting.

The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis

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