• Homo informaticus intelligens: Building a theory of intelligence analysts as information foragers

      Hantula, Donald A.; Immerman, Richard H.; Hineline, Philip Neil; Karpinski, Andrew; Weisberg, Robert W.; Laurence, Janice H. (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      The U.S. Intelligence Community is undergoing an "Analytic Transformation" designed to improve the quality of intelligence analysis. Information foraging theory, a human analogue to foraging theory that finds humans to be time- and risk-sensitive information seekers, is particularly relevant to this effort because it addresses two basic challenges that continually confront intelligence analysts: information overload and severe time constraints. The present investigation marks the first empirical foray into testing a theory of intelligence foraging. Two experiments using computer simulations tested the effects of temporal barriers on expert (intelligence analysts) and novice (undergraduates) search, consumption, and patch residence behaviors across three fictional databases (i.e., patch) containing information on the cause of a battleship explosion. The original hypotheses were not confirmed; handling time and travel time manipulations (in the form of different download delays associated with each database) did not significantly affect their database navigation patterns or their assessment of the battleship explosion. Unexpectedly, the specific content of each patch appeared to control their search and consumption behavior rather than the handling or travel time associated with each patch; the content effect mimicked the delay effect that was initially predicted. In the face of high stakes and realistic information constraints, the present study hints at an evolved information forager - one who is still content-driven in spite of severe time constraints. In light of the present findings and in service to our national security interests, future research would benefit from a deeper dive into information foraging situations with these new types of constraints.