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Toward a quantum theory of cognition : history, development, and perspectives Veloz, Tomás


The representation and processing of concepts is one of the hardest challenges in cognitive science. While computer scientists and engineers have focused on developing advances for particular tasks, philosophers and cognitive scientists have focused on elucidating the structural nature of meaning. A remarkable bridge between these two limited-success approaches can be found in behavioral research, since, in a variety of tasks, humans process information at a conceptual level in a way that is incompatible with classical probability and fuzzy set theory. Recently, attempts have been made to use mathematical schemes founded on quantum structures as alternative approaches. For this reason, the application of quantum structures to this type of phenomena has received increasing attention. The quantum approach allows to faithfully model a number of non-classical deviations observed in experimental data. Moreover, it shows that genuine quantum theoretical notions, such as contextuality, superposition, emergence, and entanglement, are powerful epistemic tools to understand and represent cognitive phenomena. In this thesis, we identify the limitations of classical theories to handle some important cognitive tasks, and introduce the fundamentals of the quantum cognitive approach to concepts. Next, we perform a mathematical analysis of current concept combination models and develop an extension that allows for concrete representations of multiple exemplars simultaneously. Our analysis indicates that a superposition of logical reasoning and a specific form of non-logical reasoning, where non-logical reasoning is dominant, allows to faithfully represent the experimental data. Therefore, the non-logical reasoning introduced by this model represents an important but unexplored form of reasoning in humans. In addition, we develop novel experimental methodologies to identify quantum conceptual structures for concept combinations in the context of natural language processing and psychological experiments. Namely, we present a methodology to build entangled concepts represented as sets of words with respect to a corpus of text, and present a computational and psychological methodology to discern if a collection of concepts behaves statistically as a collection of quantum or classical particles. Using both methodologies we have identified a significant presence of quantum conceptual structure in the context of natural language processing and psychological experiments.

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