Quantum Theory-based Human Decision Making

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Recently, quantum probability is emerging as an alternative to Bayesian probability to explain human probability judgment and decision making [1]. In particular, the probability is expressed in terms of complex probability amplitudes expressed in Hilbert space and solution of a time-dependent Schrodinger-like equation [2]. In contrast with classical probabilities, quantum probabilities do not need to satisfy the law of total probability. Interferences between probability amplitudes enable incorporation of conjunction and disjunction errors such as those found in the violations of the “sure thing principle.” These interferences can therefore be used to address the contextuality of concepts in cognition and decision making [3]. The non-separability of quantum-like states (entanglement) also leads to the possibility of addressing decision making in a non-decompositional way and to account for concept combinations. Moreover, development of quantum-like probabilities based on a non-linear Schrodinger equation would enable the ability to incorporate feedback processes. Faculty members in SSES are exploring the possibility of applying their experience in quantum theory and the physical sciences to develop dynamical agent-based models using quantum-like probabilities, and in particular to (a) address context by incorporating the interference phenomena between probability amplitudes, (b) tackle non-separability of cognitive concepts, and (c) exploit perturbative and non-perturbative approaches to include cognitive feedback.  

Exploration Team Participants:
P. Deymier (MSE) K. Runge (U. Arizona MSE/U. Florida) Y.J. Son (SIE)
1. E.M. Pothos and J.R. Busemeyer, “A quantum probability explanation for violations of “rational” decision theory,” Proc. Royal Soc. B 276, 2171 (2009). 2. P. Bruza, J.R. Busemeyer, L. Gabora, “Introduction to the special issue on quantum cognition,” J. Math. Psych. 53, 303 (2009) 3. J. R. Busemeyer, Z. Wang, A. Lambert-Mogiliansky, “Empirical comparison of Markov and quantum models of decision making,” J. Math. Psych. 53, 423 (2009).

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