I recently gave a presentation at BSides Augusta on the topic “Defeating Cognitive Bias and Developing Analytic Technique”.
At the center of many defensive processes is human analysis. While we spend a lot of time performing analysis, we don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about how we perform analysis. The human mind is poorly wired to deal with most complex analysis scenarios effectively. This can be attributed to the inherent complexity of solving technical issues where so many uncertainties exist, and also to the cognitive and unmotivated biases that humans unknowingly apply to their analysis. All of these things can diminish our ability to get from alert to diagnoses quickly and effectively.
In this presentation, I plan to discuss the mental challenges associated with technical defensive analysis by leveraging research associated with traditional intelligence analysis. I will discuss how complexity can overwhelm analysis, how cognitive bias can negatively influence analysis, and techniques for recognizing and overcoming these limiting factors. This will include a few fun mental exercises, as well as an overview of several strategic questioning techniques including analysis of competing hypothesis, red cell analysis, and “what if” analysis. Finally, I will discuss several structured analysis techniques, including two different techniques that can be used specifically for NSM analysis: relational investigation and differential diagnosis.
The video for this presentation can be found here:
The slides for this presentation can be found here: