A Quantum Geometric Model of Similarity

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No other study has had as great an impact on the development of the similarity literature as that of Tversky (1977), which provided compelling demonstrations against all the fundamental assumptions of the popular, and extensively employed, geometric similarity models. Notably, similarity judgments were shown to violate symmetry and the triangle inequality and also be subject to context effects, so that the same pair of items would be rated differently, depending on the presence of other items. Quantum theory provides a generalized geometric approach to similarity and can address several of Tversky’s main findings. Similarity is modeled as quantum probability, so that asymmetries emerge as order effects, and the triangle equality violations and the diagnosticity effect can be related to the context-dependent properties of quantum probability. We so demonstrate the promise of the quantum approach for similarity and discuss the implications for representation theory in general.

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