From Julie Beck at The Atlantic:
The theory of quantum mechanics earned its stripes by making accurate predictions concerning the behavior of atoms and the tiny particles that make them up. No one quite understands what quantum mechanics means, but it works. That’s its appeal, and so it’s understandable that researchers in other fields might want to borrow the insights of quantum mechanics.
Enter “quantum cognition,” a new theory which suggests that the mathematical principles behind quantum mechanics could be used to better understand another notoriously inexplicable area of study: human behavior.
Researchers from Ohio State University, Indiana University, and Queensland University of Technology, recently published a pair of review papers explaining this emerging theory. Quantum models are particularly useful when humans behave in ways that seem irrational under classical probability theory.
“It’s interesting—when we say something is irrational in decision-making, it’s because it’s against what a classical probability-based decision model should predict,” says Zheng Joyce Wang, an associate professor of communication at Ohio State University and a co-author on both papers. “But humans don’t behave in that way.”