Speaker: Broniatowski, D. (George Washington University)
Date: 18 April 2019
SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. David Broniatowski (George Washington University) as a part of its SMA General Speaker Series. During his presentation, Dr. Broniatowski discussed intelligence analysis, stressed the importance of informing decision makers, and provided policy recommendations in his presentation. He stated that providing decision makers with more details (verbatim) is not enough; communicators should express the gist of an analysis product, that is, its meaning in context. Dr. Broniatowksi proceeded to discuss Fuzzy-Trace Theory, which explains why analysis products can be prone to misunderstanding, with dire consequences. He explained that policy decisions are more informed by gist representation as opposed to verbatim details; therefore, experts should represent the gist of the analysis and not just the verbatim—which could be misunderstood. Dr. Broniatowski then stated that gists must be elicited from experts, and these gists may differ if they are informed by different sources of expertise (including “lay” cultural expertise). If experts differ, an overarching gist must be extracted to for a more thorough understanding. Furthermore, he explained that a more precise analysis will be more compelling if it is linked to a categorical gist. To conclude, Dr. Broniatowski stated that the IC should support its good communicators through further development and by training them to become skilled gist communicators.