Quantum Cognition


Using quantum probability theory to model human thought

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is ... range of possible action
    Knowing is ... doing, being
    Learner is ... complex (emergent, evolving) agent
    Learning is ... adapting
  • Teaching is … N/A




Quantum Cognition draws on quantum information theory and quantum probability theory in efforts to develop mathematical models of human learning, perception, emotion, and thought. Importantly, proponents of Quantum Cognition do not assert that mind can be explained in terms of quantum mechanical processes (compare Quantum Mind). Rather, within Quantum Cognition, human thought is seen quantum-like – that is, analogous in some ways to quantum phenomena (e.g., fundamentally contextual; unavailable for objective study). Associated discourses include:
  • Quantum Information Science – a domain that blends quantum mechanics and Information Science (under Cybernetics)
  • Quantum Neuroscience (Quantum Neurobiology; Quantum Neurophysics) ­(Christof Koch, Klaus Hepp, 2000s) – a domain concerned with potential quantum effects in the brain and the application of Quantum Information Science to Neuroscience


Quantum Cognition is typically described and defended in terms of the shortcomings of those models of cognition that are rooted in more traditional and/or conventional discourses. Such models, it is typically asserted, have hit barriers and/or are tied up in paradoxes. While there is some merit in those criticisms, it is not at all clear that the models developed by advocates of Quantum Cognition are any more compelling or useful.

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

Diederik Aerts

Status as a Theory of Learning

Quantum Cognition is a discourse on learning and cognition.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

Quantum Cognition is not concerned with matters associated with teaching or formal education.

Status as a Scientific Theory

Quantum Cognition is an emerging field that is rooted in nuanced understandings of quantum theory. Proponents assert that it holds much promise, but its assertions have yet to be tested or demonstrated in robust and substantial ways.


  • Quantum Information Science
  • Quantum Neuroscience (Quantum Neurobiology; Quantum Neurophysics)

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2023). “Quantum Cognition” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.

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