Upcoming Talk: What Psychologists & Quantum Physicists Can Teach Each Other

By Doug Marman

I will be giving a talk at a university in Toronto on Friday, October 5 at 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, EDT, at York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3. The public is welcome to attend.

A video of this talk, plus questions and answers after the talk are now available here:

Here is an overview of what I will be talking about:


For the last 100 years, psychologists have been moving toward a more scientific approach, to find principles that can be established on the firm ground of objectivity. At the same time, quantum physicists have been turning the foundations of physics in exactly the opposite direction, toward the realization that objectivity is impossible when observing quantum behavior; that “forces” do not force particles, they only influence them; and that it is quantum entanglement between particles and the environment that create the appearance of a solid objective reality.

Psychology can learn important lessons from these quantum discoveries. For example, it offers new insights into the recent “replication crisis” in psychology experiments by showing that there is a direct relationship between the replication problem and the “measurement problem” in quantum physics. I recently published an interpretation of quantum mechanics that also suggests the possibility that subatomic particles may behave so strangely because they possess an element of sentience, and all of the strangest aspects of quantum mechanics can be explained by this sentience. This new interpretation predicts that quantum behavior should also be present whenever relationships form between sentient agents, including organisms and human beings. If this is true, then psychology will never become a hard science like classical physics because there are too many quantum effects involved in human perception and experience.

At the same time, psychology has lessons it can teach physics. Over the last century, physicists have failed to find a way to understand the quantum mystery. Perceptual “sets” and “schemas” offer insights that open the door to a deeper understanding. The scientific lens of perception comes from schemas learned from centuries of studying mechanisms and reactions to forces. This is why the principle of objectivity became the foundation of science at the same time as the Industrial Revolution took off. But this lens of perception has not been able to solve the paradoxes of quantum mechanics, the mystery of what makes organisms alive, or the enigma of consciousness. An understanding of perceptual sets can play a role in expanding the reach of quantum physics, especially when it gives us insights into why quantum relationships between sentient quanta should indeed create forces of attraction and repulsion, as physicists have learned.

If you would like to discuss this topic, please feel free to start the dialogue below.

3 thoughts on “Upcoming Talk: What Psychologists & Quantum Physicists Can Teach Each Other

  1. I am interested in why quantum relationships between sentient quanta create attraction and repulsion. Can this be experienced as a pattern within individuals consciousness. As I understand each individual is vibrating at an energy level comprising individual atoms?

    • Marian,

      First, I will address your first and second sentences.

      Yes, we experience this as human beings in the relationships we have with others. We feel attraction to some people and repulsion to others. These feelings of attraction emerge from our subconscious as emotions, but they happen spontaneously. In fact, they can often be surprising and unexpected.

      At the level of quantum particles, physicists have learned that there is an invisible exchange between charged particles that create attraction and repulsion. As I said in my presentation at York University, which I will be posting to this web site soon, not all charged particles are attracted or repulsed. It is hit and miss at the level of individual quanta, much like it is at the level of human beings.

      Quantum physicists have no answer for why attraction and repulsion arise. They only know that it appears that invisible quantum wave functions, which are sometimes called “virtual particles” because they cannot be detected directly, are exchanged between charged particles. When those wave functions align, attraction takes place, and when the wave function are at odds with each other, they create repulsion.

      All of this is consistent with what we experience at the human level: We feel something passing between us and others, when we feel attraction. We also notice how this feeling grows when it is acknowledged by both parties. When both parties become conscious that they are sharing feelings of attraction, the attraction grows stronger.

      There is a lot more that can be said about this. You can read more in my paper, The Lenses of Perception Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. A link to that published paper is on my web site. Even more information is available in my book, Lenses of Perception.

      Now, let me get to your second question. I believe the question you are asking is if attraction and repulsion can be explained by the vibrating energy at the level of individual atoms.

      Yes, there are clearly attraction and repulsion happening at the level of atoms. In this case, the atoms are the individuals, and yes, they can be attracted and repulsed by other atoms. However, this is not the cause of our human experiences of attraction and repulsion to another person. The human experience of attraction and repulsion is between us, as an individual, and the other person. The experience comes from something invisible that passes between us and them.

      It is important that we recognize these exchanges are invisible because they cannot be detected by outsiders. We feel the attraction, but outsiders can’t see it. This is exactly the same thing happening at the level of quantum particles, and between atoms. The exchange of quantum wave functions cannot be detected directly, but the math shows quite clearly that this is describing what is happening.

      Hopefully I’ve addressed your questions. If I didn’t, let me know and I’ll be glad to try again.



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