Abstract Details

Q-deformed Physics and Effective Psychophysics  Donald Matthew Mender (Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Rhinebeck, NY )   C14

Physical observables are in principle qualia, epistemically similar to qualitative psychological "observables" insofar as everything, including physics, known to consciousness is filtered through sensoria. This insight as an epistemological map if not an ontological bridge across the "explanatory gap" has led to efforts at quantification of introspectively accessed "non-physical" qualitative perceptions in a language compatible with the equations of physics. The first such program was initiated by Weber and Fechner using noun-like variables according to classical standards. More recently, quantum cognitivists like Pothos and Busemeyer have cast psychological qualia as active verb-like operator-observables, implicitly extending subjectivity into the domain of measurement. Beyond epistemology, however, something ontologically distinctive about physical observables in comparison to psychological observables remains. Evidence for this difference lies in the apparent causal completeness of physics. One suspects that this causal completeness must necessarily present a barrier to any putatively quantized psychophysics, insofar as known physical principles should not permit ostensible quantum cognitive order effects between necessarily non-conjugate psychological observables to alter outcomes of any neurophysical experiments explicitly depending upon the standard model of quantum physics. The perspective of quantum "beables" offers another manifestation of causal completeness in physics by calling into question the plausibility of macroscopically quantum-coherent neurocognitive states under in vivo thermodynamical conditions. This presentation, in order to meet the above ontological challenge, will argue for the possibility of a quantized psychophysics configured through a mathematical "knob" in a manner consistent with the causal completeness of standard quantum physics. That "knob," a kind of gauge formalism expressed by the q-deformed algebra, should be able to "dial" up and down gradations of uncertainty relations between/among elements in any given collection of arbitrarily chosen qualitative observables. The q-deformed algebra is applicable to second quantization, which specifies as mutually incompatible the generic quantities of wave phase and of numbers of created/annihilated particles rather than qualitatively particular observables; hence, any qualitatively arbitrary observable, whether physical or psychological, may be grist for "adjustment" via a q-deformed "gauge." The fact that the q-deformed algebra, insofar as it is applied to second quantization, considers transitions between and not absolute values of quantum states, also has the virtue of consistency with the tracking of habituative and dishabituative changes intrinsic to neurocognition. A q-deformed gluon, chosen among possible types of q-deformed bosons, may address psychophysical issues raised by the causal completeness of physics in two ways. First, if standard quantum physics can be framed as the "asymptotically free" limit of quantized psychophysics, then q-deformed "antishielding" should serve as an epistemic mask able to hide consequently occult yet ontologically real exceptions to the causal completeness of physics. Second, beyond the limiting antishielded case of "asymptotic freedom," a q-deformed gluon field's scaled self-similarity should support macroscopically coherent quantization of qualia as molar cognitive "states." These two considerations have in common the construct of a q-deformed "antishield" framing standard physics as an "effective theory" of quantum psychophysics.