Quantum Mind


Quantum Consciousness
(Note: should not be confused with Quantum Cognition)


Applying principles of quantum mechanics to matters of human thought

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … information
  • Knowing is … using information
  • Learner is … a quantum information processor (individual)
  • Learning is … inputting (and associated computer-based notions, such as processing, storing, and retrieving)
  • Teaching is … N/A




Quantum Mind encompasses a range of discourses founded on the conviction that human consciousness cannot be explained in terms of classical mechanics, but it may be explainable in terms of quantum mechanical processes (e.g., entanglement, superposition). A prominent subdiscourse is Holonomic Brain Theory – which, drawing an analogy to the way a part of a hologram can contain the whole of its stored information, asserts that a piece of a human’s long-term memory may work in a similar way.


Criticisms of Quantum Mind and associated discourses are grounded in both empirical and theoretical arguments. Two prominent empirically grounded criticisms are that (1) the human body is too hot for quantum information processing and (2) the basic unit of brain function is the neuron, which is much too large for the principle of superposition (i.e., both firing and not firing) to apply. Regarding theoretical arguments, critics assert Quantum Mind dips into mysticism in the claim that quantum mechanics can somehow account for elements of human cognition that are currently unexplainable and uncomputable. More fundamentally, proponents of Quantum Mind tend to build uncritically on the assumption that the brain is a computer (see Brain-as-Computer Discourses).

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

Karl Pribram; David Bohm; Eugene Wigner; Roger Penrose

Status as a Theory of Learning

Quantum Mind is a discourse on learning, but there is no consensus among commentators that it offers any useful insights.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

Quantum Mind is not at all concerned with matters associated with teaching or formal education.

Status as a Scientific Theory

Quantum Mind falls short on all of our criteria for a scientific discourse.


  • Holonomic Brain Theory

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Quantum Mind” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.

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