Illusion can be defined as a situation where the sensory input remains constant but perceptual interpretations alternate between different possibilities. The ambiguous state mimics the superposition of states in quantum mechanics. In addition, coming to one percept versus the other follows the state reduction principle in QM. The experiment performed by Elio Conte et al from University of Bari- Italy revealed strong evidence that mental states follow quantum mechanics during perception and cognition of ambiguous figures.
There are many optical illusion drawings that questions the reliability of our senses. The Duck-Rabbit illusion creates mutually exclusive perceptual states. Most people by focusing on the right corner of the page (right visual field) see a rabbit, whereas those focusing on the left side of the page (left visual field) see a duck. This demonstrates how perceptions may differ based on the observer’s focus.
Likewise, in quantum mechanics, the result of state reduction depends on the sort of measurement we elect to make. A more revealing test of different percepts is the Spinning Dancer, created by Web designer Nobuyuki Kayahara ( “The Spinning Dancer,” 2010). Because it depicts a woman dancing, the picture appeals to the artistic hemisphere (right hemisphere); therefore, most people originally perceive the dancer spinning clockwise. However, if one starts reading some sentences, activating the reading hemisphere (left hemisphere), one perceives the dancer spinning counterclockwise. Alternatively, if one turns his head so that the picture moves to the left visual field (seen by right hemisphere), the dancer starts to spin clockwise. And if we think about something serious (activating the thinker hemisphere), we perceive that the dancer changing her spin to counterclockwise.
The Spinning Dancer can be considered to be in a “superposition of spins,” and its only our perception that results in a definite direction to her spin. Illusions can be found for auditory and olfactory percepts as well.
Sensory illusions cast doubt in the accuracy of our perceptions. Transitions from one percept to its alternative are called perceptual reversals. Reversal rates have been found to be slower for people with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder). John D. Pettigrew and Steven M. Miller suggest that clinical manifestations of bipolar disorder may be explained by hemispheric activation being "stuck" on the left (mania) or on the right (depression) (Gazzaniga 2009).
According to the classical perception/quantum perception paradox the perceptual reversal may be the determining factor. As mentioned above, the observer/experimenter intervention changes the superposition of states to just one state, as observed by experiment result. For example, in quantum mechanics, particles are known to spin around all possible axes simultaneously. In addition, a particle rotates clockwise and counterclockwise concurrently (Greenstein and Zajong 1997, 157). This concept is very strange to our classical perception; it sounds illogical and impossible. However, quantum theory, the most precise knowledge obtained by human beings, confirms its validity. When the experimenter sends a photon as a probe to assess the particle, its spin, which was in superposition of many spins around all possible axes, is reduced to just one spin—the one around the trajectory of the sent photon—and its superposed rotation is reduced to only one rotation, either clockwise or counterclockwise. Again, how can an observer change the actual spin of a particle? Is it actually changing, or is the observer just focusing on rotation around just one axis, the one in line with the trajectory of the photon he sent towards the particle?
In double sit experiment, when observer obtains the so-called which path information, the interference is not observed and just two bands will be seen in the screen. Is this observation just an illusion manufactured by our logical thinking?
In Wheeler’s cosmic thought experiment, he suggested that one may imagine a scenario where a photon has originated from a star or even a distant galaxy. If its light rays path is bent by an intervening galaxy, black hole, or other massive object, it could arrive at a detector on earth by either of two different paths. He claimed that based on the double slit experiment, if experimenter observes the single photon with a detector screen, he should see it as part of an interference pattern. But if he instead use two telescopes focused to either side of the black hole he may expect to observe the photon only in one of them. The photon is emitted from a quasar billions of years go. Can our observation today change its path during past billions of years? Do we just recieve the answer that we hunt for?
Is observer problem only a problem of hunting for logical outcomes and eliminating illogical data? Does the particle continue to rotate around all possible axes throughout the experiment, even after our probing? If every experiment indicates that the universe is quantum mechanical at a fundamental level, is it fair to suppose that we are conditioned to construct the classical level of reality inside our awareness?
Research has shown that we do not see the elements that we are not focused on (Li and Gilbert 2009, 136). This so-called in-attentional blindness can be the reason we fail to see other states and schemes of reality. Simon and Chabris demonstrated in-attentional blindness with their video of a gorilla-suited man passing through a game of catch between players wearing black and white outfits. Many viewers of the experiment could not notice the gorilla passing by. We ignore and eliminate the schemes that do not fit.
On the other hand, adults normally do not remember much about their memories before age three. In addition, few memories are retained from three to seven years of age. The phenomenon is called childhood amnesia (Bauer 2004). One of the explanations for childhood amnesia maintains that memories are formed but later become inaccessible as a result of cognitive changes. One may postulate that a newborn can see the super-positioned (fuzzy) reality before logical thinking and parental and cultural conditioning gradually force this superpositioned reality out of focus.
Is it fair to speculate that childhood amnesia is responsible for washing away the inappropriate and unacceptable memories of a fuzzy universe? Or are those kinds of perceptions simply condemned and dismissed as childish thinking and fantasy?
Even if the left brain merely analyzes the parts without imposing its own prejudices or adding elements from its perceptual library its reductionist approach (dividing reality into its components and assessing the parts to comprehend the whole) still cannot reveal reality in its totality. To further clarify the differences between a blended reality (as suggested by quantum physics) and a divided picture (as is seen on the classical level), let us, by way of analogy, take the square of sum of two numbers and compare it with the total of each of them squared.
(X + Y)2 ≠ X2 + Y2
X2 + Y2 + 2xy ≠ X2 + Y2
It is clear that two sides are different. The left side has an extra 2xy. When the equation contains only a few elements, the difference is small. However, when more elements are added, the difference grows larger. When we have more factors in the whole, the gap grows even bigger:
(X + Y + Z)2 ≠ X2 + Y2 + Z2
X2 + Y2 + Z2 + 2xy + 2xz +2zy ≠ X2 + Y2 + Z2
The left portion symbolizes a unified process in quantum mechanics, while the right portion represents the sum of parts in classical physics, presented by the left brain. The above show that the whole is different from the sum of the parts. In a universe where nearly infinite factors are involved in any process, the difference is humongous. By way of analogy, compare the joy of listening to music with the act of listening to individual notes with no harmony, or even worse, reading notes in a music notebook. The analytic function of the left brain can not reveal the actual truth in its totality. Knowing the wavelength and magnitude of the color red does not divulge the experience of the color red. There is something more to the color red. The sum of the parts does not match the actual reality in biology either. By simply adding up different parts of an organism, you cannot create a live creature. That is why analytic science and mathematics, although valuable for our everyday cognition, cannot describe the whole picture (Kafatos and Nadeau 1999).