You’re Not Irrational – You’re Just Using Quantum Physics

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By Kirsten Cowart

Next time someone you know accuses you of making irrational decisions because you are acting based on an impression, intuition, or are simply going with the flow, just kindly explain to them that you’re obeying the laws of quantum physics.  

There is a new trend emerging in the field of psychological science where they are using quantum physics to explain the paradoxical thinking of humans. This has proven useful, because it helps to explain the random anomalies in previous psychological studies.

Whenever people try to model a human’s decision-making process using mathematics, they typically end up using equations that are often rooted to quantum physics, according to Zheng Joyce.

What Is Quantum Physics?

Quantum physics is an area of science that tries to explain physical reality by examining matter on a nanoscopic level, or the smallest level we can look at. What is interesting about quantum physics is that things don’t behave the way they do on larger and more visible scales.  

“We have accumulated so many paradoxical findings in the field of cognition and especially in decision-making,” said Wang, the associate professor of communication and director of Communication and Psychophysiology Lab working 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.”

Wang and her colleagues have written two new review papers in Current Directions in Psychological Science and another in Trends in Cognitive Sciences journals, explaining their new theoretical approach to psychology.  

This new theory broadens the likelihood that a decision could be made by a person that the researcher wouldn’t have been able to predict before. This is a non-conventional approach based on the idea that humans sometimes make important decisions when they are in the face of uncertainty while also allowing us to confront some more complex questions, even when we don’t know all the facts.

Whenever researchers in the past tried to study and predict human behavior using only classical mathematics, the results didn’t add up. From those angles, human behavior seems irrational, according to Wang.  

For example, researchers have known for a long time that the order of questions on a survey can change how people respond.  This is why scientists will often change up the order of questions in order to counter this effect. Wang and her collaborators demonstrated at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that this effect can be explained and predicted when you use quantum physics to pin human behavior.

Quantum physics is often what we think of when we are talking about sub-atomic particles instead of human behavior. But this new area of research could start to change how we view the human brain, human behavior and how we navigate the world.  Perhaps this will help explain how we seem to choose things that are lucky and other seemingly random coincidences as well.  

“In the social and behavioral sciences as a whole, we use probability models a lot,” Wang said. “For example, we ask, what is the probability that a person will act a certain way or make a certain decision? Traditionally, those models are all based on classical probability theory – which arose from the classical physics of Newtonian systems. So it’s really not so exotic for social scientists to think about quantum systems and their mathematical principles, too.”

Quantum physics helps us to make sense of ambiguity in the physical world. It also helps us to make sense of the parts of physics that involve prediction.  

Quantum cognition is what happens when a human has to deal with uncertainty in his/her mind. When strange things happen, sometimes we aren’t sure how we really feel and we don’t know what decision to make.  This can be especially hard when we have limited information to deal with.  

Sometimes, life demands decisions despite you not having all the facts and perhaps, when you make a gut decision and it all works out for the better, you are actually using a real principle recently discovered by science.  

Next time you are acting on instinct, going with the flow, or making decisions that others deem as irrational, just remember that science is just barely catching up in their understanding of what is really going on inside of you on a deep, quantum level.

Do you often make decisions that don’t make sense to the people around you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.  

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Kirsten Campbell
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Kirsten Campbell

Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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