Non-Classical Correlations in Bistable Perception?


A violation of Bell’s inequalities is generally considered to be the Holy Grail of experimental proof that a specific natural phenomenon cannot be explained in a classical framework and is based on a non-boolean structure of predications. Generalized quantum theory allows for such non-boolean predications. We formulate temporal Bell’s inequalities for cognitive two-state systems and indicate how these inequalities can be tested. This will introduce the notion of temporally non-local measurements. The Necker-Zeno model for bistable perception predicts a violation of these temporal Bell’s inequalities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. 1.

    I am grateful to one of the referees for pointing out this relation.


  1. Aspect A, Dalibard J, Roger G (1982) Experimental test of Bell’s inequalities using time-varying analyzers. Phys Rev Lett 49(25):1804–1807

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Atmanspacher H (1992) Categoreal and acategoreal representation of knowledge. Cogn Syst 3:259–288

    Google Scholar 

  3. Atmanspacher H, Filk T (2006) Complexity and non-commutativity of learning operations on graphs. BioSystems 85:84–93

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Atmanspacher H, Filk T (2010) A proposed test of temporal nonlocality in bistable perception. J Math Psychol 54:314–321

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Atmanspacher H, Römer H, Walach H (2002) Weak quantum theory: complementarity and entanglement in physics and beyond. Found Phys32:379–406

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Atmanspacher H, Filk T, Römer H (2004) Quantum Zeno features of bistable perception. Biol Cybern 90:33–40

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Atmanspacher H, Filk T, Römer H (2006) Weak quantum theory: formal framework and selected applications. In: Adenier G (ed) Quantum theory: reconsideration of foundations—3. American Institute of Physics, New York, pp 34–46

  8. Atmanspacher H, Bach M, Filk T, Kornmeier J, Römer H (2008a) Cognitive time scales in a Necker-Zeno model for bistable perception. Open Cybern Syst J 2:234–251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Atmanspacher H, Filk T, Römer H (2008b) Complementarity in bistable perception. In: Atmanspacher H, Primas H (eds) Recasting reality—Wolfgang Pauli’s philosophical ideas in contemporary science. Proceedings of the Pauli-conference, Ascona, May 2007, Springer, Berlin, pp 135–150

  10. Bell JS (1966) On the problem of hidden variables in quantum theory. Rev Mod Phys 38:447

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bohr N (1935) Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete? Phys Rev 48:696–702

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Brascamp JW, van Ee R, Pestman WR, van den Berg AV (2005) Distributions of alternation rates in various forms of bistable perception. J Vis 5:287–298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. David Mermin N (1990) What’s wrong with these elements of reality? Physics today, June 1990, p 9; and Quantum mysteries revisited. Am J Phys 58:731

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. d’Espagnat B (1979) The quantum theory and reality. Sci Am 241:158–181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Einstein A, Podolsky B, Rosen N (1935) Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete? Phys Rev 47:777

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Feil D, Atmanspacher H (2010) Acategorial states in a representational theory of mental processes. J Conscious Stud 17:72–101

    Google Scholar 

  17. Gebser J (1986) The ever-present origin. Ohio University Press, Athens

    Google Scholar 

  18. Giuntini R (1991) Quantum logic and hidden variables. BI-Wissenschaftsverlag, Mannheim

    Google Scholar 

  19. Leggett AJ, Garg A (1985) Quantum mechanics versus macroscopic realism: is the flux there when nobody looks? Phys Rev Lett 54:857–860

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Mahler G (1994) Temporal Bell inequalities: a journey to the limits of “consistent histories”. In: Atmanspacher H, Dalenoort G (eds) Inside versus outside. Endo- and exo-concepts of observation and knowledge in physics, philosophy and cognitive science. Springer, Berlin, pp 195–205

  21. Misra B, Sudarshan ECG (1977) The Zeno’s paradox in quantum theory. J Math Phys 18:756–763

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Necker LA (1832) Observations on some remarkable phenomenon which occurs in viewing a figure of a crystal or geometrical solid. Lond Edinb Philos Mag J Sci 3:329–337

    Google Scholar 

  23. Pöppel E (1997) A hierarchical model of temporal perception. Trends Cogn Sci 1:56–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


It is a pleasure for me to acknowledge stimulating discussions with H. Atmanspacher, N. von Stillfried, H. Römer, H. Wallach and many participants of this conference. Part of this project was financed by the Fetzer-Franklin Fund.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas Filk.

Additional information

Parmenides Foundation for the Study of Thinking, Munich.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Filk, T. Non-Classical Correlations in Bistable Perception?. Axiomathes 21, 221–232 (2011).

Download citation


  • Necker-Zeno model
  • Bistable perception
  • Bell inequalities