Andrew Lang

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We discuss the role that intuitive theories of physics play in the interpretation of quantum mechanics. We compare and contrast naïve physics with quantum mechanics and argue that quantum mechanics is not just hard to understand but that it is difficult to believe, often appearing magical in nature. Quantum mechanics is often discussed in the context of "quantum weirdness" and quantum entanglement is known as "spooky action at a distance." This spookiness is more than just because quantum mechanics doesn't match everyday experience; it ruffles the feathers of our naïve physics cognitive module. In Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, we preserve a form of deterministic thinking that can alleviate some of the perceived weirdness inherent in other interpretations of quantum mechanics, at the cost of having the universe split into parallel worlds at every quantum measurement. By examining the role cognitive modules play in interpreting quantum mechanics, we conclude that the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics involves a cognitive bias not seen in the Copenhagen interpretation.


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