Intelligence agency wants to know what makes you tick

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Image: iStockphoto New research project will explore how the human brain represents conceptual knowledge. (Image: iStockphoto)

Cups are for drinking and can hold water, tea or coffee. That is how our brain conceptualizes entities and their relationships and properties. Our brain uses its relationship of conceptual knowledge to solve problems and make inferences.

Now, when you think national intelligence, your first conceptualization probably isn’t the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, but the agency within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced Nov. 26 it is embarking on a multiyear research effort to learn more about how our brain represents conceptual knowledge.

The information from the Knowledge Representation in Neural Systems program could improve the ability of intelligence community analysts to draw accurate inferences from intelligence data, according to a statement from ODNI.

“Understanding how the brain represents knowledge is an important step toward building new analysis tools that acquire, organize and wield knowledge with unprecedented proficiency,” said Brad Minnery, KRNS program manager.

Neuroscientists have learned a lot about the way our brains represent sensory and motor information, but much less about conceptual knowledge, according to the statement.

The research conducted by IARPA could also lead to new ways of training analysts and linguists.

Contracts for the program have been awarded to Siemens Corporation, HRL Laboratories and other companies and universities.

IARPA is an agency that invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs. It is known for its emphasis on innovation and technical rigor.

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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Department, Departments, Government IT News, Innovation, Tech