Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cognitive phenomena show quantum, particle-like features



Unlike plants, animals actively enhance their access to information – thus chances of survival - via the sensory system. The sensory organs are information grabbing machines; seeing further, smelling keener enables animals to gather nutrients (i.e., expanding time) and avoid physical dangers (i.e., time compression), an effective time machine that can lead to the relativity of time perception. Interaction through sensory stimulus corresponds to energy-information exchange. The path, rhythm, extent and other physical qualities of brain frequencies are finely regulated and turn the brain into a complex, yet subtle system.

However, the brain is much more than a finely-regulated circuit board. Electric flows generate associations, meaning and memory in ways reminiscent of quantum networks. Quantum theory became a mainstream, accepted scientific idea for modeling mental phenomena and the mind’s quantum-like behavior is exploited in fields as diverse as search-engine optimization, psychology, economy, and sociology – in some cases for nearly a century. More than 70 recent national surveys, which examined the order effect of successive attitude questions, found quantum probability theory an impeccable predictor of human judgement. In quantum systems outcome is highly dependent on the context of measurement and likewise, almost all cognitive processes, such as memory, decisions and perception, have contextual nature. Therefore quantum probability theory, which was invented to explain noncommutativity of measurements in physics, provides simple and surprisingly accurate predictive power in studying order effects in social and behavioral science.

In the brain, the appropriate temporal order of the cortex neuronal activation pattern triggers corresponding memories or experience, and forms a „temporal horizon.” Reminiscent of the observer effect in quantum mechanics, the quantum-like time-evolution of the brain maintains the unity and permanence of the mind. Measurement (interaction) actively changes the particle being measured, and in the brain it corresponds to cognitive change. The mental world is sectioned into a stable, step-wise progression of perception or learning, such as the empowering moment of riding a bike for the first time. This is the same for recognition, getting a joke, or meeting a friend. There is a moment of inspiration (loss, shame or fear), when a new balance is formed and understanding clicks. In line with this observation, it has been suggested that conscious awareness necessarily demands mental content being held “fixed”, “frozen” within a discrete but continuous progressive present moment that stands for a phenomenal unity. Therefore, instead of the spatial relationships of the material world, conscious changes which are embedded into the physical reality and its laws, happen over time. This occurs, because spatial relationships, encoded in sensory stimulus, are translated into temporal rhythms, an orthogonal organization, by the place cells of the hippocampus.

The brain’s gradually improving responses to stimuli molded the brain into the structural, organizational mirror of physical systems. Therefore, social interaction engenders particle-like features, such as uncertainty, hysteresis and territorial needs.

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