Dr Martha Whitesmith
Dr Martha Whitesmith's research focuses on the optimisation of intelligence analysis, applying experimental research from social sciences and philosophical theory. Her PhD thesis provided an in-depth critique of the leading structured analytical technique recommended for intelligence analysis, the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH), testing its ability to mitigate the risk of cognitive bias and its theoretical validity. Her subsequent research focuses are:
- Identifying environmental risk factors for cognitive biases that affect how people form and update beliefs, and how the risk of these biases can be reduced in intelligence analysis and intelligence-led operations.
- Developing a localised approach for establishing justification for knowledge and true beliefs in an intelligence context from the perspective of epistemology, the philosophical study of truth and knowledge.
- Theoretical validation of analytical methodology for an intelligence context, from a philosophical perspective, including classical logic, probability, Bayesian statistics, and in-house structured analytical techniques developed by Western intelligence communities.
- Grounding contemporary ethical issues related to intelligence in philosophical theory.
- Whitesmith (2020): Belief, Bias, and Intelligence: Testing the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses Method, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-1-4744-6634-9
- Whitesmith (2019): “Experimental Research in Reducing the Risk of Cognitive Bias in Intelligence Analysis”, Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence, V3 N2 (Summer 2020), pp. 380-405, https://doi.org/10.1080/08850607.2019.1690329
- Whitesmith (2019): “The Efficacy of ACH in Mitigating Serial Position Effects and Confirmation Bias in an Intelligence Analysis Scenario”, Journal of Intelligence and National Security, V4 I2, pp. 225-242, https://doi.org/10.1080/02684527.2018.1534640, released online in Oct 2018
- White (2014): “Is Intelligence Analysis a Different Kind of Intellectual Activity?”, Professional Heads of Intelligence Analysis (PHIA) Tradecraft Journal, Cabinet Office, London
- Goodman, M., Dover, R., and White, M. (2017): “Two Worlds, One Common Pursuit: Why Greater Engagement with the Academic Community Could Benefit the UK’s National Security”, The Palgrave Handbook of Security, Risk and Intelligence, Dover, R., Goodman, M. S., and Dylan, H. (eds), Palgrave Macmillan