City Research Online

Temporal Bell Inequalities in Cognition

Waddup, O., Yearsley, J., Blasiak, P. & Pothos, E. M. ORCID: 0000-0003-1919-387X (2023). Temporal Bell Inequalities in Cognition. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 30(5), pp. 1946-1953. doi: 10.3758/s13423-023-02275-5


There is widespread evidence that human memory is constructive, so that recollective processes may alter the information retrieved or impact on subsequent recollections. We examine a framework for narrowing down the nature of such processes, from physics. In Physics, the Temporal Bell (TB) inequality offers a general test of the sensitivity of the context of previous measurements in sequential measurement scenarios, as predicted by quantum theory. We present an empirical memory paradigm which allows a test of the TB inequality, using a novel kind of ‘change judgment’, whereby participants are asked to decide whether there has been a change in a question across different time points of a scenario. Across two experiments, we were able to observe evidence for the violation of a TB inequality in one case, offering evidence for quantum-like processes in memory. The present results complement other recent work purporting the relevance of quantum-like representations in memory and raise questions regarding the adaptive value of such representations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Constructive memory, Temporal Bell inequality, Change judgments, Quantum theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QC Physics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of s13423-023-02275-5.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (882kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of TB ms revision Feb 2023.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login