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The next time someone accuses you of making an irrational decision, just explain that you’re obeying the laws of quantum physics.
A new trend taking shape in psychological science not only uses quantum physics to explain humans’ (sometimes) paradoxical thinking, but may also help researchers resolve certain contradictions among the results of previous psychological studies.
According to Zheng Joyce Wang and others who try to model our decision-making processes mathematically, the equations and axioms that most closely match human behavior may be ones that are rooted in quantum physics.
“We have accumulated so many paradoxical findings in the field of cognition, and especially in decision-making,” said Wang, who is an associate professor of communication and director of the Communication and Psychophysiology Lab at The Ohio State University.
“Whenever something comes up that isn’t consistent with classical theories, we often label it as ‘irrational.’ But from the perspective of quantum cognition, some findings aren’t irrational anymore. They’re consistent with quantum theory—and with how people really behave.”
In two new review papers in academic journals, Wang and her colleagues spell out their new theoretical approach to psychology. One paper appears in Current Directions in Psychological Science, and the other in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.