IARPA eyes realistic gaming technology to help intelligence analysts recognize and mitigate cognitive biases

COLLEGE PARK, Md., 30 Jan. 2011. Officials of the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in College Park, Md., will host an industry day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 24 Feb. 2011 to brief companies on the upcoming Sirius program to create training games that will help intelligence analysts recognize and mitigate biases that could compromise the value of U.S. intelligence reports.

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COLLEGE PARK, Md., 30 Jan. 2011. Officials of the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in College Park, Md., will host an industry day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 24 Feb. 2011 to brief companies on the upcoming Sirius programto create training games that will help intelligence analysts recognize and mitigate biases that could compromise the value of U.S. intelligence reports.

IARPA announced the industry day of program briefings, which will be in the Washington area, in an announcement this past week (BAA-11-03(pd)). Companies whose officials would like to attend the industry day must register for an official invitation, which will contain additional information.

The goal of the Sirius program is to create serious games to train participants and measure their proficiency in recognizing and mitigating the cognitive biases that commonly affect all types of intelligence analysis, with a goal of manipulating variables experimentally in virtual learning environments to determine whether and how such variables might enable player-participant recognition and persistent mitigation of cognitive biases.

Cognitive biases of interest that will be examined include confirmation bias, fundamental attribution error, bias blind spot, anchoring bias, representativeness bias, and projection bias.

The conference will provide information on Sirius, address questions from potential proposers, and to provide a forum for potential proposers to present their capabilities and find potential team partners.

A broad consensus exists that human decision making relies on a repertoire of simple, fast, heuristic decision rules that are used in specific situations, IARPA officials explain. These decision rules can bias general problem solving in ways that produce inaccurate reports. When an intelligence problem invokes these biases, analysts may draw inferences or adopt beliefs that are logically unsound or not supported by evidence. The Sirius program seeks to address some of these issues.

Cognitive biases in analysis tend to increase with the level of uncertainty, lead to systematic errors, filter perceptions, shape assumptions, and constrain alternatives. Although cognitive biases are unlikely to be eliminated completely, research suggests that they may be mitigated by awareness, collaboration, and critical or procedural thinking processes.

Those interested in attending the IARPA industry day must register no later than 17 Feb. 2011 online at https://conference.brtrc.com/Sirius_pd/Overview.aspx. Directions to the conference facility and other materials are available on the website upon registration. No walk-in registrations will be allowed.

For questions or concerns, contact IARPA's Rita Bush by e-mail at dni-iarpa-baa-11-03@ugov.gov. E-mail questions about the conference or registration to IARPAevents@brtrc.com.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/2bc48e021c87ab5dbf89b0c75b2cdeaf.

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