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02 July 2007

Visualizations of the internal states of analysis

Via Mindhacks and Neuro Future comes the fascinating work of the Einstein’s Brain Project, which among other efforts has created innovative 3D visualization of EEG activity of participants in various states of mental activity.

This sounds like it has some fascinating potential applications for understanding the unique internal processes of analysis. We have long been intrigued about what makes certain analysts better than others, and the ways in which how different analysts think – not just in approaching problems, but in everything from first principles. Survey instruments and external observation have proven useful tools to help start our limited understanding of these factors, but we’d certainly love to see some applied intelligence research of a similar nature.

In a way, this reminds us very much of the initial work done to assess the cognitive elements of IMINT and other GEOINT analysis processes through eye tracking and other detailed physiological monitoring of analysts conducting real target tasks. These sorts of analysis are very different disciplines than the primarily verbal aspects of most other INT’s, and require a very different sort of instruction and focus. Exploring the specialties of the field can also help bring new ideas into the mainstream of all-source analysis.

Since its hard to get any real work done while sitting in an MRI or a CAT scan, it is interesting to see the development of other sensors that might have utility in helping to understand the analyst’s inner world.