The quantum model of social decision-making

W. F. Lawless, M. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The shift from individual agent to group perspective, the major unsolved problem in social psychology (Allport in [21]), precludes realistic models of human decision-making for autonomous agents. Allport was not alone in recognizing this problem. Luce and Raiffa [26]) concluded that traditional mathematical logic based on the individual rational perspective, exemplified by the independent uncertainties in game theory between actors and observers as they interact, had been unable to capture social processes such as decision-making. Group theorists, such as Levine and Moreland (in [19]), agree that a new model must be constructed to replace the individual rational model, primarily aggregated individual self-report data from decision participants or their scientific observers, to study unseen effects of social interaction, like Giddens' identification of unintended social consequences from intentional behavior. Philosophers have long recognized aspects of this problem with Aristotle's distinction between mathematics and physical objects to Descartes mind-body dualism and James' complementarity between thinking and action. But the problem remains unsolved and largely ignored. Our approach is to develop Bohr's social quantum model (SQM), to our knowledge, the only theory to model the conjugate uncertainties that exist interdependently between actors and observers entangled in an interaction. With SQM, the immediate goal is to derive and explore the role of argumentation in social decision-making; the ultimate goal is to develop and apply a general theory of social groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics
StatePublished - 2002
Event2002 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics - Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia
Duration: Oct 6 2002Oct 9 2002


  • Dissonance
  • Entanglement
  • Social quantum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Hardware and Architecture


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