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SEOUPS Spring Pub Social 2019: The beginner's guide to quantum cognition



Quantum Cognition is a new area of psychological research, and is based on the idea that the mathematical axioms which describe and model the uncertain world of sub-atomic particles are the same as those needed to model human cognition.

This talk outlined the history, successes and failures of the computational approach in Psychology, and argued that current evidence does not support the notion that the brain is some sort of quantum computer. However, by re-framing psychological phenomena in terms of decision-making theory, it suggested that quantum mechanics provides the tools with which to develop novel mathematical models that challenge existing cognitive theory.

For instance, where Doherty et al. (1979) have claimed that people are “cognitively dysfunctional”, or Kahneman (eg., 2011) has argued that heuristics allow “fuzzy decisions” to be made, Quantum Cognition would argue that such conclusions rest entirely on the assumptions of classical mathematics. These themes are used to explore the history of mathematical Psychology, the current state of both AI and quantum computing, and the benefits of the new quantum approach.



We were delighted to have Dr Rachael Bond giving this talk. Rachael is a PostDoctorate Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, researching quantum mechanical models of cognition, decision-making, and insight problem solving. Current projects are centred on non-monotonicity, and whether “lightbulb” moments of inspiration may be explained using quantum complexity theory. This has led to some rather difficult questions about the order of time. Prior to the mid-life crisis that lead her to train as a Psychologist, Rachael had a career in technology—interspersed with periods spent variously as a Club DJ, Pub manager, and member of an ABBA tribute band. Rachael does not have a page on Wikipedia. 

The presentation from this event is available from The beginner's guide to quantum cognition (Rachael Bond).


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