Quantum Modelling Could Help Understand How Humans Process Imperfect Information

In Education

Scientists have in the past been intrigued by the mystery of human behavior and there has been debate on the role of probability in understanding the mind. Probability, a mathematical concept determining event likelihood, suits common situations, like a coin toss. However, research suggests classical probability may not entirely explain human behavior, raising the question of whether quantum mechanics’ probabilistic nature offers a more suitable explanation.

“Quantumnes” can explain information processing in the brain

Quantum mechanics incorporates mathematical probability to explain phenomena at the atomic level. In the quantum realm, probabilities operate under distinct rules. Recent discoveries highlight the significance of quantum principles in human cognition, influencing how the brain processes information thus suggesting implications for artificial intelligence development.

Researchers exploring the concept of “irrationality” in human behavior, challenging classical probability theory, found instances where behavior deviates from mathematical predictions.

For instance despite classical probability suggesting a preference for a holiday regardless of exam results, a significant number of students, when uncertain about their performance, chose not to go on holiday.

Students may avoid going on holiday due to concerns about exam results, which is considered irrational behavior according to classical probability. Cognitive science has identified various instances of similar violations of classical probability rules.

Instances of violations of classical probability rules

Order dependence influences human behavior, as demonstrated in a study on question order effects. For instance when participants were asked about Bill Clinton’s honesty before Al Gore’s, 50% and 60% deemed them honest. However, reversing the order resulted in 68% and 60% responding positively.

Human behavior may seem inconsistent at the everyday level, defying classical probability theory. However, it aligns with quantum mechanics, prompting cognitive scientists like Jerome Busemeyer to propose “quantum cognition.” This emerging field posits that quantum principles offer a more consistent explanation for human behavior.

Over the past two decades, researchers have developed a framework for simulating people’s cognitive behavior in processing imperfect information. Mathematical techniques from quantum modeling were applied to understand how the human brain processes noisy data, with potential applications to other biological behaviors, such as plants efficiently analyzing environmental information.

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