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Bell correlations outside physics

Gallus, C., Pothos, E. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-387X, Blasiak, P. , Yearsley, J. & Wojciechowski, B. W. (2023). Bell correlations outside physics. Scientific Reports, 13(1), article number 4394. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-31441-x


Correlations are ubiquitous in nature and their principled study is of paramount importance in scientific development. The seminal contributions from John Bell offer a framework for analyzing the correlations between the components of quantum mechanical systems and have instigated an experimental tradition which has recently culminated with the Nobel Prize in Physics (2022). In physics, Bell’s framework allows the demonstration of the non-classical nature of quantum systems just from the analysis of the observed correlation patterns. Bell’s ideas need not be restricted to physics. Our contribution is to show an example of a Bell approach, based on the insight that correlations can be broken down into a part due to common, ostensibly significant causes, and a part due to noise. We employ data from finance (price changes of securities) as an example to demonstrate our approach, highlighting several general applications: first, we demonstrate a new measure of association, informed by the assumed causal relationship between variables. Second, our framework can lead to streamlined Bell-type tests of widely employed models of association, which are in principle applicable to any discipline. In the area of finance, such models of association are Factor Models and the bivariate Gaussian model. Overall, we show that Bell’s approach and the models we consider are applicable as general statistical techniques, without any domain specificity. We hope that our work will pave the way for extending our general understanding for how the structure of associations can be analyzed.

Publication Type: Article
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Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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