Economics serving society

Transparency in Public Life – a Quantum Cognition Perspective

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François Dubois and Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky

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The Mathematical formalism of Quantum Mechanics (QM) was developed to respond to the challenge put to scientific exploration when the process of investigation cannot be separated from the investigated object. Under recent years, a number of both theoretical and empirical works have demonstrated the power of that model to address questions outside the field of subatomic physics including in economics, psychology, semantics and others. Interestingly, the grounding fathers of Quantum Mechanics including Niels Bohr, Werner Heseinberg, Erwin Shroedinger and David Bohm early recognized the relevance of the formalism for human and social sciences due to the similarities in the epistemological situation.
In this paper François Dubois and Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky propose to model documented cognitive limitations in terms of a key quantum feature namely “Bohr complementarity”. People are in general not able to hold very complex picture in their mind. Instead they adopt one or another perspective in response to information and/or introspective operations. While different perspectives are complementary, they can also be incompatible in the agent’s mind i.e., they cannot be synthesized into a single picture. This approach provides interesting insights into the question of why the broad access to information made possible by new technologies has not translated into real transparency and resulted in the development of direct democracy. Instead, and in contrast with classical model we show how the provision of information can be used to efficiently confuse people. Some implications for the construction of a public agency’s website are discussed. In particular, the order induced by the architecture, in which information can be accessed is crucial to effective transparency.

Original title of the article : “Transparency in Public Life – a Quantum Cognition Perspective”
Published in : PSE Working Papers n°2014-29. 2014.
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