One of the most important things that the IC can learn from the behavioral and social sciences is how to characterize and evaluate its analytic assumptions, methods, technologies, and management practices. Behavioral and social scientific knowledge can help the IC to understand and improve all phases of the analytic cycle: how to recruit, select, train, and motivate analysts; how to master and deploy the most suitable analytic methods; how to organize the day-to-day work of analysts, as individuals and teams; and how to communicate with its customers. The knowledge presented in this report has evolved through scientific processes that have given it well-understood strengths and limitations. With modest material investment and strong leadership, the IC can derive significant benefit from that knowledge. The committee offers a strategy to first exploit what is already known and then proceed to new programs of basic research that address the IC’s unique needs.

The first element involves assessing how well current and proposed analytical methods are supported by scientific evidence. The IC should not rely on analytical methods that violate well-documented behavioral principles or that have no evidence of efficacy beyond their intuitive appeal.

The second element is to rigorously test current and proposed methods under conditions that are as realistic as possible. Such an evidence-based approach to analysis will promote the continuous learning needed to keep the IC smarter and more agile than the nation’s adversaries.


The committee makes five broad recommendations and, for each, specific actions that the IC can adopt immediately with relatively little cost or disruption. Those recommendations and actions presented in Chapter 7 are summarized here.

Use Behavioral and Social Science

The committee’s first recommendation calls on the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to apply the principles, evidentiary standards, and findings of the behavioral and social sciences to the IC’s analytic methods, workforce development, collaborations, and communications.

To implement this recommendation, the committee offers five immediate actions: (1) use the Intergovernmental Personnel Act for expertise on a short-term basis; (2) give IC analysts short-term academic assignments to deepen their methodological and subject matter expertise; (3) develop specialized behavioral and social science expertise cells across the IC to provide

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