Quantum Cognition, why we make bad decisions

Our brain’s ability to decide is what makes it different from a computing machine. Scientists often try to predict our behavior by using mathematical equations to simulate real situations, known as mathematical modelling. Psychologists usually rely on the probability theory when modelling our decision-making processes; as a result encountering many inconsistencies and paradoxes, often labeling these decisions as irrational.

Psychological scientists are recently taking a new approach, suggesting cognitive processes follow the laws of quantum physics, enabling us to decide in complex situations, despite the limited mental resources available.

One of these scientists is Zheng Joyce Wang, an associate professor of communication and director of the Communication and Psychophysiology Lab at The Ohio State University.

“Our brain can’t store everything. We don’t always have clear attitudes about things. But when you ask me a question, like ‘What do you want for dinner?” I have to think about it and come up with or construct a clear answer right there,” Wang said. “That’s quantum cognition.”

She uses Schrödinger’s Cat and the principle of quantum superposition as an example on how quantum cognition works.

What is quantum cognition >>>>

Quantum Cognition

When we make a decision, we envision all our options simultaneously, as if they were in a box; the moment we focus on one of them, and open the box, the others disappear leaving us with one option, our decision. This process helps our brain come to a conclusion without having to analyse every bit of relative information. If we would process all necessary information for a decision the way our computers do, we would probably still be waiting to see if Adam eats the apple or not.

Wang is not saying that our brains are or function like quantum computers, there are others trying to find that out, but she is saying that applying the laws of quantum physics, opposed to classical newtonian physics, explains our, supposedly, irrational decisions or actions.

So the next time someone questions your taste in clothing, blame it on quantum physics.