Quantum structure of negation and conjunction in human thought

  • Aerts D
  • Sozzo S
  • Veloz T
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Abstract

We analyse in this paper the data collected in a set of experiments performed on human subjects on the combination of natural concepts. We investigate the mutual influence of conceptual conjunction and negation by measuring the membership weights of a list of exemplars with respect to two concepts, e.g., Fruits and Vegetables, and their conjunction Fruits And Vegetables, but also their conjunction when one or both concepts are negated, namely, Fruits And Not Vegetables, Not Fruits And Vegetables and Not Fruits And Not Vegetables. Our findings sharpen existing analysis on conceptual combinations, revealing systematic and remarkable deviations from classical (fuzzy set) logic and probability theory. And, more important, our results give further considerable evidence to the validity of our quantum-theoretic framework for the combination of two concepts. Indeed, the representation of conceptual negation naturally arises from the general assumptions of our two-sector Fock space model, and this representation faithfully agrees with the collected data. In addition, we find a further significant deviation and a priori unexpected from classicality, which can exactly be explained by assuming that human reasoning is the superposition of an ‘emergent reasoning’ and a ‘logical reasoning’, and that these two processes can be successfully represented in a Fock space algebraic structure.

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Aerts, D., Sozzo, S., & Veloz, T. (2015). Quantum structure of negation and conjunction in human thought. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01447

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