190 episodes

The Cognitive Crucible explores all aspects of our generational challenge: Cognitive Security. It is the only podcast dedicated to increasing interdisciplinary collaboration between information operations practitioners, scholars, and policy makers. Join the discussion forum each week with the Cognitive Crucible host, John Bicknell. Have a question or would like to suggest a topic go to: https://information-professionals.org/podcasts/cognitive-crucible.

The Cognitive Crucible Information Professionals Association

    • Government
    • 4.9 • 48 Ratings

The Cognitive Crucible explores all aspects of our generational challenge: Cognitive Security. It is the only podcast dedicated to increasing interdisciplinary collaboration between information operations practitioners, scholars, and policy makers. Join the discussion forum each week with the Cognitive Crucible host, John Bicknell. Have a question or would like to suggest a topic go to: https://information-professionals.org/podcasts/cognitive-crucible.

    #187 Randy Rosin on Reflexive Control

    #187 Randy Rosin on Reflexive Control

    The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
    During this episode, Dr. Randy Rosin returns to the Cognitive Crucible to discuss the “trippy” topic of reflexive control. Soviet influence practitioners favor an indirect approach. Reflexive control is the process of conveying the basis of decision-making from one person to another.
    Research Question: Randy Rosin suggests an interested student examine: How can reflexive processes be applied in the creation of strategies to obtain desirable results in scenarios of either conflict, competition, or cooperation?
    Resources:
    Cognitive Crucible Podcast Episodes Mentioned #7 Randy Rosin on Russia and Applied Cybernetics #100 Rand Waltzman on the Metaverse and Immersive Virtual Reality Propaganda Universe: Propaganda has become the dominant form of public discourse in the information age. Propaganda Universe is dedicated to helping citizens, journalists, scholars, and policy-makers understand the nature of propaganda, disinformation, and information warfare in order to identify and resist manipulative communication. Preserving our ability to think independently, both as individuals and as a society, is crucial to being able to decide what is in our own best interests and not those of others. Norbert Wiener Heinz von Foerster Dialectical Materialism Digital Forensics Research Lab Diane Chotikul, The Soviet Theory of Reflexive Control in Historical and Psychocultural Perspective: A Preliminary Study, July 1986. Russian Operations in Georgia: Lessons Identified Versus Lessons Learned by Keir Giles Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President: What We Don't, Can't, and Do Know by Kathleen Hall Jamieson Structure of Awareness: Symbolic Language Human Reflection by Vladimir A. Lefebvre Link to full show notes and resources
    Guest Bio: Dr. Randy Rosin is a faculty member of the National Intelligence University in Bethesda, Maryland who teaches courses in propaganda, foreign information and cyber strategy, cyber threat intelligence, denial and deception, and leadership. He is a 32-year active-duty Army veteran who has served in combat arms, psychological operations, information operations, as a middle eastern foreign area officer, and in human intelligence operations. Notably serving as the information operations chief in Iraq, at US Central Command, and as the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché in Yemen.  His research interests are on the confluence of technology and manipulative communication with a particular focus on the development of information-based theoretical frameworks.
    About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
    For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.
    Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.
    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    #186 Rod Korba on Vygotsky’s Inner Speech

    #186 Rod Korba on Vygotsky’s Inner Speech

    The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
    During this episode, Vygotsky was a seminal figure in Soviet Psychology. His multi-staged—social learning theory of cognitive development—has influenced generations of cognitive psychologists.
    Our discussion today focuses on Vygotsky’s frequently overlooked and generally under-estimated concept of inner speech: or the use of internal words (and their idiosyncratic meanings) that differ in structure & function from the same words used in external speech—which are developed for public consumption.
    For Vygotsky, inner speech serves as an important catalyst and a dynamic process of adaptation linking  the “self” to society—not only for acquiring social or conventional word meaning in external language, but for eventually establishing private or personal word meaning—that fosters one’s self identity. For Vygotsky, inner speech is the primary tool for mentation—the ability to think conceptually through language.
    Vygotsky’s internal language and inner speech mediate the differences between public and private thought. In this sense, inner speech is an indispensable, private tool of comprehension: a clandestine, personal shorthand that fires memory, evokes macro-concepts represented by word meanings, and serves as the catalyst for individual identity—through the continually developing concept of self.
    Research Question: Rod Korda suggests an interested student investigate:  a participatory way of developing a framework to measure word meaning–especially in a cultural context. If successful, this kind of tool can become an input into measuring messaging effectiveness.
    Resources:
    YouTube Presentation Link to full show notes and resources
    Guest Bio: 
    About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
    For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.
    Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.
    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    #185 Becky Fair and Hannah Lincoln on Disrupt and Overwhelm Strategies

    #185 Becky Fair and Hannah Lincoln on Disrupt and Overwhelm Strategies

    The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.

    Our conversation covers Two-Six’s analysis methodology for creating their biannual Media Manipulation Monitor (M3) report which chronicles China’s efforts and presents strategies for achieving information advantage.
    Research Question: Becky and Hannah suggest an interested student examine how China’s influence online compares to everything else that’s influencing other people online. Because there’s a lot of evidence that China is doing a lot online to influence people’s minds, but not a lot of evidence that China has been successful except in a few cases and in a few countries.
    Resources:
    Cognitive Crucible Podcast Episodes Mentioned #144 Nick Eberstadt on Demographics Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership by Cheng Li Middle Class Shanghai: Reshaping U.S.-China Engagement by Cheng Li  Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China's Great Firewall by Dr. Molly Roberts Intelligence Matters podcast: Chinese Cognitive Warfare Link to full show notes and resources
    Guest Bio: 
    Becky Fair is the Vice President of Information Advantage at Two Six Technologies. She spent a decade as a CIA officer in a variety of roles and brings a deep understanding of the national security community mission sets. She was the CEO and co-founder of Thresher, a software company acquired by Two Six Technologies, that uses unique data sets and machine learning to help decision makers in government and industry detect and measure information operations. She started her career working in Russia at the International Finance Corporation, a division of the World Bank.
    Hannah Lincoln is the Analysis Lead for the M3 team at Two Six Technologies. She spent a decade in China during its late economic boom years (2008-2018), where she worked in consumer research for a variety of multinational companies. Research on Chinese consumers was a natural segue into China intelligence analysis. Ms. Lincoln moved back to the US in 2018 and switched to OSINT analysis with a focus on Chinese censorship, propaganda, and disinformation at Thresher, now part of Two Six Technologies. 
    About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
    For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.
    Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.
    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

    • 47 min
    #184 Curtis Fox on Hybrid Warfare

    #184 Curtis Fox on Hybrid Warfare

    The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
    During this episode, Curtis Fox discusses his new book: Hybrid Warfare: The Russian Approach to Strategic Competition and Conventional Military Conflict. Curtis Fox utilizes a series of case studies on historic Russian operations to demonstrate that while Russia’s methods appear to be cloaked in a shadow of mystique, their strategic realities make them consistent and predictable.
    Resources:
    Cognitive Crucible Podcast Episodes Mentioned #144 Nick Eberstadt on Demographics Hybrid Warfare: The Russian Approach to Strategic Competition and Conventional Military Conflict About Curtis Fox Hybrid Warfare: The Russian Approach to Strategic Competition and Conventional Military Conflict by Curtis Fox Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond Link to full show notes and resources
    Guest Bio:
    Curtis Lee Fox is the son of a West Texas cotton farmer and a Kentucky kindergarten teacher. He was raised in Texas and Virginia, and studied Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he lived next door to his future wife Katie.
    They eventually met after Curtis volunteered to help Katie’s roommates move furniture. Despite being accepted to the graduate engineering program at Virginia Tech under a research assistant-ship, Curtis chose to enlist in the Army. He was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course, learned to speak Russian, won his Green Beret, and served in the 10th Special Forces Group.
    After completing his time in service, Curtis studied at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, earning a Master’s of Business Administration. Curtis and Katie married in 2017, and they now reside in Northern Virginia where Curtis works as a systems engineer and project manager. They celebrated the birth of their daughter Ginny in 2021.
    As believing Christians, Curtis and Katie are involved in their Church.
    “We change the world by changing ourselves. It’s only by letting go of grand-scale visions, the need to re-make the world ‘as it should be’, and by focusing on the development of our own consciences that our families and communities begin to transcend the meager existence that is man’s inheritance on Earth. The alleviation from unnecessary suffering, or perhaps from the habits of mind that produce suffering, is a direct result of the redemption of each individual human heart.”
    About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
    For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.
    Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.
    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

    • 49 min
    #183 Julie Janson on Air Force IO Talent and Strategy

    #183 Julie Janson on Air Force IO Talent and Strategy

    The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
    During this episode, Julie Janson discusses the founding of the US Air Force’s Information Operations (IO) career field, professional military education, sending a message, and the need to keep pace with the ever-evolving information environment. Julie observes that IO and PSYOP practitioners are continually evolving engagement tactics; accordingly, large, cumbersome acquisition programs tend to be too slow and ineffective for today’s fast-paced fight. Julie also encourages IO and PSYOP practitioners to think outside the box and consider tradecraft from non-traditional sources–like magicians. 
    Research Question: Julie suggests an interested student examine: How might we develop tailored and actionable information strategies among the services while remaining integrated to account for a global information environment?
    Resources:
    Cognitive Crucible Podcast Episodes Mentioned #22 James Mulvenon on Our Peer Adversaries #174 Kara Masick on Assessment Insights from Program Evaluation US air force says fighter jet test is ‘coincidence’ after Trump’s Iran threat Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) [3-min Youtube] The Wisdom of Psychopaths: Kevin Dutton The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton F.I.R.E.: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation by Dan Ward Link to full show notes and resources
    Guest Bio: Julie Janson is a US Air Force Information Operations officer, planner and strategist. She is a subject matter expert in Operations in the Information Environment (OIE) and IO. One of the founders of the 14F IO specialization. Lead author and tiger team lead of the Air Force’s OIE Strategic Plan. Graduate of the Multi Domain Operations Strategist Program. 
    About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
    For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.
    Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.
    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

    • 44 min
    #182 Ben Kessler on the OEO Model of Measurement

    #182 Ben Kessler on the OEO Model of Measurement

    The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
    During this episode, Ben Kessler discusses Meltwater’s methodology and models for Owned, Earned, Organic (OEO) measurement of activities within the information environment.
    Research Question: Ben Kessler suggests an interested student ask the question: Where is the diaspora of opinion and content going as we mature as a digital society from centralized “town squares” to “closed door” networks? 
    Resources:
    Cognitive Crucible Podcast Episodes Mentioned #148 Kalev Leetaru on GDELT #115 Russ Burgos on Information Supply, Demand, and Effect #174 Kara Masick on Assessment Insights from Program Evaluation Meltwater Carpe Datum Cambridge Disinformation Summit UK RESIST 2 Framework World Economic Forum Link to full show notes and resources
    Guest Bio: 
    Ben Kessler is the Head of Enterprise Strategy & Public Sector at Meltwater. He brings 11+ years of experience in the application and adoption of data and insights from the Information Environment.  Ben has supported Civilian, DoD, IC, and Joint Forces / Coalitions in leveraging Meltwater's world-leading media intelligence suite to enable contextualized mission decisions - from risk assessments to strategic communications, public affairs, mis/dis/malinformation, narrative analysis, and real-time critical workflows.  Over the past decade, Ben has seen first-hand the evolution of the Media Intelligence space to a critical decision making capability with direct impact to senior leadership.     
    Meltwater’s goal is to harness PAI to deliver a unique capability measuring the impact of narratives, missions, audience cohorts, campaigns, and/or outbound efforts.  We provide access to the world’s largest corpus of PAI data across the global information environment, tracking over 300,000+ news sources (including online, print, broadcast, and podcasts), and over 300 million social media data points including Reddit, Meta (Facebook + Instagram), Twitter/X, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, Forums, Deep Web, Message Boards, Comments, Review Sites, and blogs.
    Meltwater’s datalake spans Western and non-Western platforms, in over 100+ languages including character-based languages, and local in-market content. We process approx. 1.5B documents / day, each enriched with over 170+ AI and LLM powered metadata points for sophisticated analysis, detection algorithms, alerting workflows, network visualizations, and more. Meltwater has a commercial in-market presence in over 120+ countries that drives local requirements to support a global customer base.
    About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
    For more information, please contact us at communications@information-professionals.org.
    Or, connect directly with The Cognitive Crucible podcast host, John Bicknell, on LinkedIn.
    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, 1) IPA earns from qualifying purchases, 2) IPA gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

jjjjjjjjj but jnb ,

Great for Cyber newbies

I’m not a tech person; this podcast’s approach to technologies extant and to come paired with geopolitical knowledge and bases for cognition help me approach a previously “unknowable” topic for me. Each episode is unique and has its own subject that is relevant to our life and times while also having an air of caution in its approach to affiliate politically in its expression of opinions and information. It’s become a daily listen for me.

J.Scotty.F ,

Super Duper!!!

John Bicknell who hosts this podcast does a fantastic job. Well-versed in his subjects and engages the guests with integrity, respect, and a deep curiosity. Deep thoughts await you with this production. I cannot recommend this higher…it is at the top.

Sashi :-) ,

Beyond Excellent

This blend of natsec, futurism, and geopolitics is my favorite podcast of all time and has fueled my interests and passions. I cannot recommend it enough.

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