Context and Interference Effects in the Combinations of Natural Concepts

Diederik Aerts, Lester Beltran, Lyneth Beltran, Massimiliano Sassoli de Bianchi, Sandro Sozzo, Tomas Veloz, Jonito Aerts Arguelles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The mathematical formalism of quantum theory exhibits significant effectiveness when applied to cognitive phenomena that have resisted traditional (set theoretical) modeling. Relying on a decade of research on the operational foundations of micro-physical and conceptual entities, we present a theoretical framework for the representation of concepts and their conjunctions and disjunctions that uses the quantum formalism. This framework provides a unified solution to the 'conceptual combinations problem' of cognitive psychology, explaining the observed deviations from classical (Boolean, fuzzy set and Kolmogorovian) structures in terms of genuine quantum effects. In particular, natural concepts 'interfere' when they combine to form more complex conceptual entities, and they also exhibit a 'quantum-type context-dependence', which are responsible of the 'over- and under-extension' that are systematically observed in experiments on membership judgments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-690
Number of pages14
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational and Interdisciplinary Conference on Modeling and Using Context CONTEXT 2017: Modeling and Using Context - Paris, France
Duration: 20 Jun 201723 Jun 2017


  • Cognitive psychology
  • Concept combination
  • Context effects
  • Interference effects
  • Quantum modeling
  • Quantum structures


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