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Forecasting Accuracy and Cognitive Bias in the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses

Forecasting Accuracy and Cognitive Bias in the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses

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Published by Kristan J. Wheaton
Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) is an analytic methodology used in the United States Intelligence Community to aid qualitative analysis. Taking into consideration what previous studies found, an experiment was conducted testing the methodology’s estimative accuracy as well as its ability to mitigate cognitive phenomena which hinder the analytical process. The findings of the experiment suggest ACH can improve estimative accuracy, is highly effective at mitigating some cognitive phenomena such as confirmation bias, and is almost certain to encourage analysts to use more information and apply it more appropriately. However, the results suggest that ACH may be less effective for an analytical problem where the objective probabilities of each hypothesis are nearly equal. Given these findings, future studies should focus less on the question of ACH’s general efficacy, but instead should aim to expand our understanding of when the methodology is most appropriate to use.
Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) is an analytic methodology used in the United States Intelligence Community to aid qualitative analysis. Taking into consideration what previous studies found, an experiment was conducted testing the methodology’s estimative accuracy as well as its ability to mitigate cognitive phenomena which hinder the analytical process. The findings of the experiment suggest ACH can improve estimative accuracy, is highly effective at mitigating some cognitive phenomena such as confirmation bias, and is almost certain to encourage analysts to use more information and apply it more appropriately. However, the results suggest that ACH may be less effective for an analytical problem where the objective probabilities of each hypothesis are nearly equal. Given these findings, future studies should focus less on the question of ACH’s general efficacy, but instead should aim to expand our understanding of when the methodology is most appropriate to use.

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Published by: Kristan J. Wheaton on Aug 12, 2010
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05/12/2013

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FORECASTING ACCURACY AND COGNITIVE BIAS IN THEANALYSIS OF COMPETING HYPOTHESES
ANDREW D. BRASFIELD
A ThesisSubmitted to the Faculty of Mercyhurst CollegeIn Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCEINAPPLIED INTELLIGENCEDEPARTMENT OF INTELLIGENCE STUDIESMERCYHURST COLLEGEERIE, PAMAY 2009DEPARTMENT OF INTELLIGENCE STUDIES
 
MERCYHURST COLLEGEERIE, PENNSYLVANIA
FORECASTING ACCURACY AND COGNITIVE BIAS IN THE ANALYSIS OFCOMPETING HYPOTHESES
A ThesisSubmitted to the Faculty of Mercyhurst CollegeIn Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for The Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCEINAPPLIED INTELLIGENCESubmitted By:
ANDREW D. BRASFIELDCertificate of Approval:
 _______________________________________ Kristan J. WheatonAssistant Professor Department of Intelligence Studies _______________________________________ James G. BreckenridgeChair/Assistant Professor Department of Intelligence Studies ________________________________________ Phillip J. BelfioreVice PresidentOffice of Academic AffairsMay 2009
 
Copyright © 2009 by Andrew D. BrasfieldAll rights reserved.DEDICATION
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