Quantum cognition: spooky action in word recall

Tom James @ 24-02-2009

fractal_networkA fascinating article here at Physorg on how human beings remember and recall words. Researchers at Queensland University of Technology and the University of South Florida compare two ways of thinking about connections between similar words 1) Networks of similar words and 2) something analogous to spooky action at a distance:

…the researchers suggest that the probability of a word being activated in memory lies somewhere between Spreading Activation (in which words are individually recalled based on individually calculated conceptual distance) and Spooky Activation at a Distance (in which the cue word simultaneously activates the entire associative structure).

Most likely, Spreading Activation underestimates the strength of activation, while Spooky Activation at a Distance overestimates the strength of activation.

The researchers are using quantum physics as an preexisting abstract framework for their mathematical models for how human beings remember:

In the new model, associative word recall probability depends on how strongly connected the associated words are to each other.

For instance, “Earth” and “space” are entangled in the context of “planet,” but “Earth” and “gas giant” may not be entangled (though “Jupiter” and “gas giant” may be).

Words that are entangled with many other words have a greater probability of being recalled, while words that are entangled with few or no other words have a smaller recall probability.

At this stage this is theoretical, but the long-term consideration is for the development of AI and similar technologies:

As our information environment becomes more complex, we will need technology that can draw context-sensitive associations like the ones we would draw, but increasingly don’t as we lack the cognitive resources to do so.

Therefore, such the ‘meanings’ processed by such technology should be motivated from a socio-cognitive perspective.” This kind of research is an example of an emerging field called “quantum cognition,” the aim of which is to use quantum theory to develop radically new models of a variety of cognitive phenomena ranging from human memory to decision making.

Plenty of beef for the science-fictional burger bar.

[image from zeroinfluencer on flickr]

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Quantum cognition: spooky action in word recall”

  1. Tom Marcinko says:

    George from Yellow Submarine: “It’s all in the mind.”