Decision-making relies on a process of evidence accumulation which generates support for possible hypotheses. Models of this process derived from classical stochastic theories assume that information accumulates by moving across definite levels of evidence, carving out a single trajectory across these levels over time. In contrast, quantum decision models assume that evidence develops over time in a superposition state analogous to a wavelike pattern and that judgments and decisions are constructed by a measurement process by which a definite state of evidence is created from this indefinite state. This constructive process implies that interference effects should arise when multiple responses (measurements) are elicited over time. We report such an interference effect during a motion direction discrimination task. Decisions during the task interfered with subsequent confidence judgments, resulting in less extreme and more accurate judgments than when no decision was elicited. These results provide qualitative and quantitative support for a quantum random walk model of evidence accumulation over the popular Markov random walk model. We discuss the cognitive and neural implications of modeling evidence accumulation as a quantum dynamic system.
Citation: Kvam, P. D., Pleskac, T. J., Yu, S., & Busemeyer, J. R. (2015). Interference effects of choice on confidence: Quantum characteristics of evidence accumulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(34), 10645–10650. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1500688112