Quantum dreamin and optical illusions


Quantum consciousness, a phrase that sends most eggheads running for the hills, is currently on a roll. A coupla months back, Efstratios “Moussaka” Manousakis of Florida State University in Tallahassee published a paper suggesting that a certain kinda optical illusion could be explained in quantum terms.

The optical illusion in question is the double image flip like the one above which switches from one scene to another in the viewer’s mind. Neuroscientists have always wondered why ya can’t see both images at the same time.

The new thinkin is that the image exists in a kinda quantum superposition of both states. When this state collapses, it gives the observer the sense that he or she is lookin at one scene or the other (but not both). That sounds interesting but the impressive thing about Moussaka’s work is that it succesfully predicts the rate at which this flipping occurs in humans.

Now quantum physicist Henry “Goose” Stapp from the Lawerence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley has entered the fray. His contribution is to tackle some of the criticism that has been levelled at Moussaka’s idea, in particular, the charge that in our warm, wet brains, decoherence destroys any quantum effects before they even get going.

Not so says Stapp. He argues that there exists a kinda twilight zone in which quantum phenomena can follow classical trajectories without being influenced by decoherence. So the collapse that triggers the conscious observation of one image or the other is essentially a classical phenomena that is steered by a few key quantum rules. It is therefore immune to decoherence.

Interesting idea but you can almost hear neuroscientists sucking their teeth as they read it. Stapp’s gonna need some more evidence and lots of it before an idea like this can become mainstream.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0710.5569: The Quantum-Classical and Mind-Brain Linkages: The Quantum Zeno Effect in Binocular Rivalry

16 Responses to “Quantum dreamin and optical illusions”

  1. Zephir says:

    By Aether Wave Theory the quantum character of vacuum is the result of the nonlinear behavior of quantum foam, which gets dense after shaking by the same way, like soap foam. Therefore every wave is spreading through vacuum like wave packet, because the mass density of vacuum is proportional to energy density in each moment and location.


    The neural network has a character of foam too, so it can serve as an effective quantum simulator of observed reality. The role of waves are playing the organized motion of ions through cell membranes. Such organized motion of large number of charge carriers can even have a mechanical effects at the distance, from this the different paranormal phenomena can follow. Compare the London interactions in ball lightning, composed of Rydberg atoms.

  2. arielle says:

    This is a very good illusion to me.The flower does look like a womens face, but at the same time it looks just like a flower.

  3. adolfo says:

    it is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo kooooool!!!!

  4. j says:

    im printing this 4 my homework

  5. Carolyn says:

    Hi Just wondering where the images is from?

  6. Angelina Gomes Jackson says:


  7. Amelia says:

    I must know who the artist of that image is.

  8. Blake Stacey says:

    Oh, for the love of. . . You didn’t even have to get to decoherence to see that Manousakis’ idea was remarkably daft. It explained less than ordinary models devised by neuroscientists, it failed to explain anything those models hadn’t addressed yet, and its “experimental support” was nothing of the sort (he fit a two-parameter curve with a four-parameter hypothesis, making the numbers he got absolutely meaningless).

  9. Blake Stacey says:

    That sounds interesting but the impressive thing about Moussaka’s work is that it succesfully predicts the rate at which this flipping occurs in humans.

    Let me emphasize this: No. It. Doesn’t. He fit curves to other people’s measurements, and did so poorly. (I wrote about this before; some points in that post were clarified in the ensuing discussion.)

  10. Blake Stacey says:

    Finally, don’t forget that whatever spooky “quantum consciousness” humans have, according to this proposition, pigeons have as well.

  11. Claire says:

    Does anybody know where this picture comes from?
    Are we allowed to use it?

  12. roberta says:

    This is so cool
    it makes me want meat loaf

  13. Jordie says:

    thats so funny

  14. Mike says:

    I love this illusion.

  15. first time, I saw only a girl’s face, but now I can see that flowers and butterfly