Snow Queen Is Evil and Beautiful: Experimental Evidence for Probabilistic Contextuality in Human Choices

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Abstract

We present unambiguous experimental evidence for (quantum-like) probabilistic contextuality in psychology. All previous attempts to find contextuality in a psychological experiment were unsuccessful because of the gross violations of marginal selectivity in behavioral data, making the traditional mathematical tests developed in quantum mechanics inapplicable. In our crowdsourcing experiment, respondents were making two simple choices: of one of two characters in a story (The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen), and of one of two characteristics, such as Kind and Evil, so that the character and the characteristic chosen matched the story line. The formal structure of the experiment imitated that of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradigm in the Bohm-Bell version. Marginal selectivity was violated, indicating that the two choices were directly influencing each other, but the application of a mathematical test developed in the Contextuality-by-Default theory, extending the traditional quantum-mechanical test, indicated a strong presence of contextuality proper, not reducible to direct influences.

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