Human Perception as a Phenomenon of Quantization

Diederik Aerts, Jonito Aerts Arguëlles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


For two decades, the formalism of quantum mechanics has been successfully used to describe human decision processes, situations of heuristic reasoning, and the contextuality of concepts and their combinations. The phenomenon of 'categorical perception' has put us on track to find a possible deeper cause of the presence of this quantum structure in human cognition. Thus, we show that in an archetype of human perception consisting of the reconciliation of a bottom up stimulus with a top down cognitive expectation pattern, there arises the typical warping of categorical perception, where groups of stimuli clump together to form quanta, which move away from each other and lead to a discretization of a dimension. The individual concepts, which are these quanta, can be modeled by a quantum prototype theory with the square of the absolute value of a corresponding Schrödinger wave function as the fuzzy prototype structure, and the superposition of two such wave functions accounts for the interference pattern that occurs when these concepts are combined. Using a simple quantum measurement model, we analyze this archetype of human perception, provide an overview of the experimental evidence base for categorical perception with the phenomenon of warping leading to quantization, and illustrate our analyses with two examples worked out in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1207
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


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