International Journal of Theoretical Physics

, Volume 34, Issue 8, pp 1165–1186

Quantum structures: An attempt to explain the origin of their appearance in nature

  • Diederik Aerts

DOI: 10.1007/BF00676227

Cite this article as:
Aerts, D. Int J Theor Phys (1995) 34: 1165. doi:10.1007/BF00676227


We explain quantum structure as due to two effects: (a) a real change of state of the entity under the influence of the measurement and (b) a lack of knowledge about a deeper deterministic reality of the measurement process. We present a quantum machine, with which we can illustrate in a simple way how the quantum structure arises as a consequence of the two mentioned effects. We introduce a parameter ε that measures the size of the lack of knowledge of the measurement process, and by varying this parameter, we describe a continuous evolution from a quantum structure (maximal lack of knowledge) to a classical structure (zero lack of knowledge). We show that for intermediate values of ε we find a new type of structure that is neither quantum nor classical. We apply the model to situations of lack of knowledge about the measurement process appearing in other aspects of reality. Specifically, we investigate the quantumlike structures that appear in the situation of psychological decision processes, where the subject is influenced during the testing and forms some opinions during the testing process. Our conclusion is that in the light of this explanation, the quantum probabilities are epistemic and not ontological, which means that quantum mechanics is compatible with a determinism of the whole.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diederik Aerts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Theoretical PhysicsVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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