Anticipating the Zombie Apocalypse: Using Improbability to Teach Intelligence Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Some of the most important challenges in teaching Intelligence Analysis in an
academic context are to make the students reflect on their own biases and to
convey how group dynamics shape the analytical process. Only by learning
this can they understand the ease with which an individual or group slips into
familiar patterns of thinking and thus fails to identify new, unexpected
developments. According to the late Central Intelligence Agency specialist in
this area, Richards J. Heuer Jr., these psychological factors can be a serious
impediment to accurate analyses.1 In addition, in order to be adequately
prepared for the prevalence of contemporary information warfare, students
need to familiarize themselves with deception and improve their ability to
detect it in order to avoid being misled. Since bias and group dynamics are
two of the most important components exploited in deception operations, the
two issues are connected. Including both the psychological factors and the
mechanisms of deception in the same exercises arguably facilitates teaching
and makes it easier for the students to grasp these concepts.2


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • Intelligence Analysis, zombies, deception, teaching
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-390
JournalInternational Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 10
Publication categoryResearch