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learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...

TEACHING VISION

Mark G. Marshall

(Originally Published in JMIC Occasional Paper Number Five, A Flourishing Craft:

Teaching Intelligence Studies, June 1999, 57-84.)

A CHALLENGE

Looking for a teaching challenge? Try conveying the finer points of Imagery Intelligence

analysis to a class of adults educated in a Western culture, most of whom work in a

military hierarchy, and all of whom have been indoctrinated in intelligence production as

a sequential assembly line. 125 As a basis for intelligence analysis, visual evidence is distinct

from the descriptive evidence and the linear processes with which students are most

familiar. The art of image visualization requires distinct training for professional interpreters,

distinct education for conventional analysts who would appreciate visual evidence,

and distinct mentoring for exceptionally visual students.

Before describing how image teachers can answer the challenge, the author will first

illustrate the nature and magnitude of the problem by highlighting the parallel patterns 126

of diversity and domination that run through human cognition, within human culture, and

between modes of intelligence evidence.

PART I

PATTERNS OF DIVERSITY AND DOMINATION

Cognitive Diversity

Could there be a more fundamental place to begin an investigation of the profession of

“Intelligence” than intellect itself? Considering the similarity between the results of

human intelligence and the objectives of organizational intelligence, the latter can reasonably

be expected to learn much from the former.

A Pair. The human mind operates in combinations of two distinct modes of thinking.

Our ability to comprehend the pictures in this article depends on the intellectual dimension

that uses wholeness, simultaneity and synthesis. The other mental mode is characterized

by sequence, analysis and abstraction, and dominates when one reads this line of

text. This diversity of intellect is so fundamental to human thought it has a neurobiological

basis and an association with the two hemispheres of the brain. 127

125 See Christopher Andrew’s description of the intelligence assembly line in For the President’s Eyes Only,

426.

126 Pattern recognition is one of the favorite tricks in image research. See William A. Kennedy and Mark G.

Marshall, “A Peek at the French Missile Complex.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 45, no. 7 (September 1989):

21-22.

87

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