There are two ways that people become aware of a threat. The first, which is referred to as top-down processing, is when a person intuitively realizes that there is something wrong and makes a decision without needing to observe the details and cues that caused them to make that realization. The second method, the bottom-up approach, is certainly the more difficult of the two, as it requires that a person can recognize a series of subtle anomalies before making a decision. To identify patterns of behavior through intense attention to detail, focus, and strong deductive reasoning, are inherently more challenging than when an anomaly presents itself right in front of us. As the challenge becomes greater, so does the reward for making an accurate and correct prediction. It is the reward for continuous study and learning the subtle details of crimes or attacks that have occurred in the past. This is where we can recognize the patterns that the less aware would have missed.
That challenge is why I always enjoy reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about Sherlock Holmes when I need a break from reading anything scientific and am looking for something with a narrative. Sherlock is the ultimate bottom-up processor as he sees the subtle cues in people, their clothing, their statements, and their behaviors, and then ties those indicators together to recognize patterns that no one else in the story can see. He uses his deductive reasoning to identify the people who are attempting to conceal their intentions. He gains the experience needed to solve these crimes through an immersive learning process to research a wide range of topics and crime, test his different hypotheses, and practice new methods. This time spent studying is what allows him to recognize the cues that no one else can see. His ability comes from his dedication.
Learning about behavioral analysis doesn’t always have to be a completely serious endeavor, and you can allow yourself some leisure. As you get away from work this summer consider bringing The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes with you. If professional reading is off limits during a family vacation, you’ll be able to disguise your interests with these short stories and probably get some credit from the spouse for reading a classic. As you read the stories, consider the awareness that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must have had in order to write them. To be that attuned to the subtleties of behavior and to have the creativity to weave the details together into stories that don’t reveal the answer until the end, certainly makes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a vanguard profiler.
Want to see other books that we have read and recommend? Take a look at our complete reading list for our other suggestions.