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Foundations of Physics. Vol. 12, No.

6, 1982
Collapse of the State Vector
and Psychokinetic Effect
H e l m u t S c h m i d t 1
Received October 5, 1981
Eugene Wigner and others have speculated that the "collapse o f the state
vector" during an observation might be a physieally real process so that some
modification of current quantum theory would be required to describe the
interaction with a conscious observer appropriately.
Experimental reports on the "psychokinetic effect" as a mental influence on
the outcome o f quant um j umps suggest t hat perhaps this effect might be vital f or
an understanding o f the observer's role in quant um mechanics.
Combining these two speculations we introduce a reduction principle that
provides f or the gradual reduction o f a macroscopieaily ambiguous state and
allows simultaneously f or the occurrence of some psychokinetic effect in the
process of observation.
The resulting model leads to many of the paradoxical, but logically
consistent, f eat ures of the psychokinetic effect that have been reported, and
makes f urt her testable predictions.
The model does not touch on the more proj bund questions of consciousness.
Bul the model implies that the result o f a conscious observation, the collapse of
the state vector, becomes accessible to the experimenter, with the psychokinetic
effect as probe: Whether Schrddinger' s eat has not or has collapsed the state
vector determines whether or not the later human observer can still exert a
psychokinetic influence on the result.
1. I N T R O D U C T I O N
Co n s i d e r t he cas e of a b i n a r y q u a n t u m de c i s i on t hat l eads t o t wo pos s i bl e
ma c r o s c o p i c a l l y di f f er ent out c ome s . Ta k e as a t y p i c a l e xa mpl e an i ndet er -
mi ni s t i c b i n a r y r a n d o m event ge ne r a t or ~1) t hat , af t er t r i gger i ng, sel ect s
r a n d o ml y a r ed or a gr een l a mp t o be lit.
J Mind Science Foundation, 102 W. Rector, Suite 215, San Antonio, Texas 78216.
00159018/82/0600-0565503. 00/0 ( 1982 Plenum PuNishing Corporation
566 Schmidt
If, before the triggering, the syst em can be descri bed by a st at e vector,
then after the triggering this state vect or
~ ) = a ~ l ) + b ~ 2 ) with ( 1 ~ ) = ( ~ , [ ~ , ) = ( ~ 2 1 ~ 2 ) = 1 (1)
appears as the superposi t i on of the two macr oscopi cal l y different st at es ~ )
and ~2) where the red or green l amp is lit, respectively. We say t hat the state
vect or ~) is macr oscopi cal l y ambi guous.
The occurrence of macr oscopi cal l y ambi guous states has led to much
cont roversey because we seem to observe subjectively onl y macr oscopi cal t y
sharp states and never the "super posi t i on" of t wo or mor e macr oscopi cal l y
different states. In spite of this still ongoing discussion about the proper
i nt erpret at i on of quant um t heory, ~2'3) there is largely agreement on the prac-
tical aspect s of the mat t er:
We can use Schr6di nger' s equat i on as long as no observat i on is made,
and cal cul at e "as if" the observat i on would induce a r andom " j ump" of the
state vect or ~) into the macr oscopi cal l y sharp vect ors G) or 42) with the
probabi l i t i es aa* and bb*, respectively. Thi s corresponds to a "r educt i on" of
the density mat ri x from
p = ~)(~ = a a * ~ i ) ( ~ + ab*~l ) ( ~2 + ba*~2)(~l + bb*~2)(~ 2 (2)
to the reduced mat ri x
p' = aa*~l ) ( ~ ~ + bb*~z ) ( ~ z (3)
It may appear reasonabl e to see this reduction as a transition f r om an
undecided situation into a physi cal l y real state where nat ure has made up her
mind for one or the ot her out come. But, surprisingly, the f or mal i sm of
quant um t heory does not account for this t ransi t i on, but rat her refers to a
somewhat elusive external observer to define physi cal reality. Cert ai nl y
quant um t heory is logically self consistent. And the inability of the
f or mal i sm to define an absol ut e reality may convey to us some profound
truth about nat ure and its observers.
But still, we mi ght want to l ook for other less ext reme formul at i ons of
quant um t heory, mor e in accor dance with our individually colored feelings
of plausibility. There we may ai m in one of t wo directions: We may either
t ry to reformul at e the t heory such t hat no macr oscopi cal l y ambi guous states
do arise and the human observer pl ays no mor e crucial a role t han other
recordi ng equi pment , or we may accept the singular role of the human
The feeling t hat the human observer or human "consci ousness" pl ays a
singular role in quant um t heory has al ready been expressed by the earl y
pioneers in the field. (4)
Collapse of the State Vector and Psychokinetic Effect 567
Most specifically, Wigner (5) championed the idea that it is human
consciousness that causes the collapse of the state vector, whereas in the
absence of observers conventional quantum theory, even with its
macroscopically ambiguous states, is valid. In the following we will pursue
this idea.
The use of the term "consciousness" in this context may be somewhat
pretentious. There are certainly no claims that our studies should shed light
on the profound problems of consciousness as raised by Buddhist meditators
or other thinkers.
The hypothesis that it is the act of observation that collapses the state
vector seems not accessible to verification because the two density matrices
of (2) and (3) lead in quantum theory to the same expectation values for all
possible experiments. But if the validity of quantum theory were suspended
in the act of observation, Wigner argues, this might have observable
Experimental indications that human consciousness might do even more
than collapse state vectors comes from rather extensive laboratory work in
parapsychology. Let me mention here in particular the experiments on the
"' psychokinetic effect" (PK). The first reports on this effect came from
Louisa and J. B. Rhine, (6,v) based on experiments in which human subjects
tried to affect the outcome of dice falls. These early experiments have been,
rightly or wrongly, much criticized. The basic finding, however, that the
human will can under certain conditions affect the outcome of random
processes was apparently confirmed by many later researchers working
under more sophisticated test conditions. After John Beloff (8) had pointed
out that the ideal targets for the mental effort in a PK experiment should be
indeterministic quantum jumps, Chauvin and Genthon ~91 reported positive
results from experiments where highly motivated teenagers tried to slow
down or speed up the counting rate of a Geiger counter exposed to a weak
radioactive source. Subsequently I reported a large number of
experiments~J0.11) in which human subjects were apparently able to affect the
decisions made by quantum mechanical (indeterministic) random number
generators. These experiments emphasised, apart from the existence of a PK
effect, the independence of the effect of space, time, complexity and similar
factors that would limit the effectiveness of the conventional physical
"forces". The most recent, statistically astronomically significant confir-
mation of PK action on an indeterinistic random number generator was
reported by R. G. Jahn and B. Dunne. (12)
Unfortunately even the most successful workers in this field have to
agree that the experiments are still rather tedious and time consuming: First,
the effects are small so that many trials are needed for statistical
significance. Second, only some selected subjects perform reasonably well,
568 Schmid|
but even there the experi ment ers have to work very hard to keep the subj ect ' s
interest and mot i vat i on alive for the often st renuous or even painful ment al
effort required for success. Thi s situation may change with more skilled
experi ment ers getting involved, but, in the meant i me, it may explain why
onl y few of the challenging questions raised in the following have so far been
studied experimentally.
The reader may wonder whether it is reasonabl e at this stage to t heori ze
much about the PK mechani sm before experi ment ers have managed to get
the effect under better control. But with an effect so par adox, so cont r ar y t o
ever yday intuition, it is vital to have some sel f consi st ent model theories in
order to design syst emat i c experiments.
Consi deri ng the report ed "nonl ocal " or in some sense even "noncaus al "
features ~13) of the PK effect one mi ght base a PK model on some explicitly
noncausal mechani sm, quite independent of the quant um mechani cs. One
such model has been report ed previ ousl y. (~4) But this part i cul ar model
seemed limited in its usefulness by the occurence of some "di vergence
pr obl em".
The first at t empt to link the PK pr obl em explicitly with basic quest i ons
of quant um t heor y was made by Wal ker ~5~ who based his discussion on
hidden vari abl e theories. Lat er some of these ideas were clarified and
extended by Mat t uck, (16~ using the Bohm- Bub hidden vari abl e theory. In this
model the mi nd can affect the hidden vari abl es which in turn det ermi ne the
out come of the r andom processes of quant um theory. Thi s idea seems
at t ract i ve insofar as the hidden vari abl es have al ready some nonl ocal
features so that, nai vel y speaki ng, the mind grabbi ng and changi ng a hidden
vari abl e could pr oduce observabl e effects at some di st ant location.
In the following we will not use hidden vari abl es but rat her st udy how
the Schr6di nger equat i on mi ght be modified in the most simple manner such
as to allow for a PK effect and an aut omat i c reduct i on of the state vect or
under an observat i on.
The next t wo sections serve as pr epar at i on for sec. 4 where we introduce
the reduct i on equat i on t hat provides for a smoot h reduct i on of the state
vect or in the process of observat i on. The reduct i on principle will leave r oom
for a psychoki net i c effect so that, for exampl e, the state of (2) may get
reduced into a mi xt ure
P'=P'~,)(~, +q'~2)(~2
( 3' )
where the coefficients p ' and q' may be different from aa* and bb* in (3).
Collapse of the State Vector and Psychokinetic Effect 569
Consi der first a bi nary observat i on where the observer can distinguish
onl y t wo possible out comes, like the lighting of a red or a green l amp. After
one of the l amps has been lit, but before the observer has become
consci ousl y awar e of the result, we can write the state vect or (1) as
( 4 )
( ~ = 1 - Q ( 5)
Here ~1), ~2> a r e states with the red or green l amp lit, respectively, and Q,
are the proj ect i on oper at or s into the subspaces of all st at es with red or green
l amp lit. (We are assumi ng an ar r angement where the triggering of the
bi nary r andom generat or causes exact l y one l amp to light.) The oper at or s
Q, (~ satisfy
Q2=Q=Q+, (~2 = Q = Q+ Q( ~- - (~Q = 0 (6)
More compl ex observat i ons may be considered as a superposi t i on of many
bi nary observat i ons with their associ at ed proj ect i on operat ors.
I f a syst em can be descri bed by a single normal i zed state vect or ~) with
the correspondi ng density mat ri x
( 7 )
( ~t ~) = T r ( q ) = l , q2 = q (8)
We will call any mat ri x t I of this f or m a pure state density mat ri x or
pure state proj ect i on operat or.
Consi der next an ensembl e of possi bl e state vect ors ~i), "' " <v) where ~i)
occurs with the probabi l i t y P1-
We wilt write this ensembl e as a weighted "mi xt ur e" of pure state
proj ect i on oper at or s
2 = P, t/, @ P2 qz@ "'" + PN r/N = Mix Pi ~+ (9)
570 Sc hmi dt
~/i = ~,)(~i, TrQIi) = 1 (10)
We call the mi xt ure normal i zed if
No r m( u ) = ~ P i = 1 (11)
i =1
The @ symbol in (9) indicates the inclusion of the following state with
its statistical weight into the mixture; it does not indicate an algebraic
addition of the matrices. The last expression in (9) is simply a short hand
notation for the preceeding expression.
An algebraic addition of the terms in (9) leads to the density matrix
p = Z (12)
i = 1
In conventional quant um t heory the density matrix alone tells us all there is
to known about the system, i.e., we may forget the individual states from
which the mixture originated. In the following formalism, however, this is not
quite true: sometimes we have to remember more about the mixture t han the
sum of (12).
We can define the " s um" of two mixtures
/a+ =/ l j @/a 2 (13)
by merging the two ensembles where, however, members corresponding to
the same state can be combined, i.e.,
A~, ) ( ~ @ B{~)(~ = (14 + B) {, ) ( {, (14)
A "di fference" between two mixtures
~_ = v l & (15)
may be defined if all members of~t 2 are cont ai ned in t 1 with smaller or equal
In the following we will often want to leave the number of elements in a
mixture open. Then it is convenient to write the mixture in (9) in the f or m
u = Mi x P( q) q (16)
where the mi xt ure is extended over all represented pure state density
matricies r/.
Collapse of the State Vector and Psychokinetic Ef f ect 571
Now we want to formulate a general reduction equation that can
gradually reduce the density matrix of (2) into the form of (3' ). Considering
a binary observation with projection operator Q, the reduction process may
depend on the particular observer. We will use in our model two parameters,
K and e to describe the functioning of the observer in a particular binary
observation. The nonnegative parameter ~c measures the speed of the
reduction process. We will call K the "alertness parameter" in agreement
with the intuitive feeling that a highly alert observer might produce a faster
collapse of the state vector than a sleepy one. The other parameter e, the
"PK coefficient" measures the strength of the associated psychokinetic effect.
This parameter can be positive or negative corresponding to an increased
probability for one or the other outcome of the binary decision. We may
expect that for a given observer the parameters K and e change with time and
depend in a rather subtle manner on his momentary mental state.
In the following I will use a Heisenberg representation where the density
matrix of the conventional formalism is constant in time. Then I postulate a
"reduction principle" that, under the influence of an observation, may break
up a pure state density matrix into a mixture of other pure state density
matrices as follows:
We write the state at time t as a mixture of pure state density matrices
p(t) = Mix P(t, r/)r/ (17)
Here the matrix r/ plays the role of a summation parameter and is a
normalized pure state density matrix (see Equations 9 and 16), i.e.
t/~ = r/, Tr(r/) = 1 (18)
For the change of /~(t) under an observation we now postulate the
reduction equation
~-7 t(/) = Mix l @Kr/@ [K + e Tr(r/ o)] or/Q t @ [K -- g Tr(r/Q)] 0r/ 0} P(t, r/) (19)
Note that tz(t + dr) appears again as a superposition of pure state
density matrices and that the reduction equation conserves the norm of/a(t)
(see Equation I 1) so that we may assume that
Norm(/a(t)) = X~ P(t, r/) = 1 for all times (17a)
The reduction equation (19) can be naturally generalized to the case
where we have several simultaneous observations with projection operators
825/12/6 2
572 Sehmidt
Q, and paramet ers ~c s, e s by extending the mi xt ure over an additional
paramet er s.
~@#(t)= M i x IGK'q[K'+c'Tr(r/Qx)]QsrlQ'I P(t, tl) (19a)
, , , [Ks - ~s Tr(rl Q~) ] Q_.srlQs l
tn the absence of a PK effect, when e = 0, the precedding formal i sm
coul d be much simplified. We could stay in the framework of the conven-
tional density matrix formalism and would not have to introduce mixtures
linked by the @ operation: For e = 0 Equat i on (19) reads
- ~# ( t ) = Mix, ~c[@r/@ Qq Q @ Qt l Q] ( 19' )
Int roduct i on the density matrix correspondi ng to #(t ) (see Equat i on 12)
p ( t ) = ~ P ( t , t l ) t l (20a)
we can rewrite Equat i on (19 ~) as an equation for the density mat ri x
p ( t ) = - - i r p( t ) + K[ Qp ( t ) Q + Qp(t)Q] (20b)
This equat i on describes the exponential decay of the "mi xed" elements
(elements linking the two macroscopi cat l y different states) in the density
matrix under an observation.
I f there is a PK effect, e 4= 0, then we can no longer reduce (19) into an
equation of mot i on for the density matrix alone because then (19) contains
elements quadrat i c in r/. Then we have to use the more detailed formal i sm
with mixtures.
To give an example, let us integrate (19) for the case of a binary obser-
vation with the initially pure state
#( 0) = q = ~){~ (21)
where ~) is the state vect or from (1).
Let us write again
0 > = = l
Then we have
Tr(r/Q) = a a * , Tr(r/Q) = b b * (23)
Collapse of the State Vector and Psychokinetic Effect 573
No w (19) can be sol ved by t he a n sa tz
/.t(t) = C(t)~)(~ @ A (t) aa*~l ) ( ~l @ B(t ) bb * ~2)( ~ 2
= C(t)q A( t ) OrlO @ B( t ) o~la
( 24)
i.e., duri ng t he meas ur ement t he initial pur e st at e br eaks up into a mi xt ur e
with onl y t hree cont r i but i ng pr oj ect i on oper at or s , r/0 = ~)(~, ~]1 = ~ 1 ) ( ~ 1 and
~2 = ~2)(~.
Fr om (19) and ( 24) we obt ai n
or i nt egrat ed
d( t ) = - ~ c ( t )
A(t) = (K + ebb*) C(t)
B ( t) = ( x - eaa* ) C ( t)
c ( t ) = e - ~'
( 25)
e ) -~t ) (26)
A ( t ) = l + - - b b * ( 1 - e
B ( t ) = (1 e aa* ) ( 1 - - e - ~ t )
Then t he final st at e (i f t he obs er vat i on is compl et ed with unchanged
val ues of x and e) is gi ven by
/ z ( m ) = ( l + - ~ bb* ) a a * ~ , ) ( ~ , @ ( 1 - - ~ a a * ) bb*{2)({2
( 27)
The r educt i on equat i on guar ant ees t hat t he fi nal mi xt ur e is nor mal i zed. But
t here is t he furt her r equi r ement we have not ye t consi der ed t hat t he coef-
ficients A (t) and B ( t ) in ( 26) mus t a l wa ys be nonnegat i ve, for all admi s s i bl e
val ues of aa* and bb* ( a a * + b b * = 1, 0 < ~ a a * ~ 1). Thi s i mposes t he
rest ri ct i on
tel ~< x (28)
Not e t hat t he final mi xt ur e ~ ( m ) in ( 27) r emai ns unchanged i f subse-
quent l y t he s ame obs er vat i on (Q) is r epeat ed b y anot her obs er ver (wi t h
par amet er s ~c', e' ) . Thi s is easi l y verified by appl yi ng (19) t o t he mi xt ur e o f
574 Sehmidt
Consi der again the binary random generator with the red and green
lamp. Accordi ng to conventional quant um mechanics, the probabilities for
the red or green lamp to light are ((2) or (27) with e = 0)
p = aa*, q = bb* (29)
Under the influence of a PK effect these probabilities are changed (27) to
p ' = l + - ~ - q p, = 1 - - - - p q (30)
In the case of a symmet ri c r andom generator, p = q = , we get
1 1 e 1 1 e
p ' = - - - - , q' - (31)
- 2- + 4 t# 2 4 K
Here the restriction from (28) limits the maxi mal average success rat e to
P~ax = 3 = 75 o~ (32)
The actually report ed scoring rates are lower; typically, a few percent above
the 50% chance scoring rate.
Not e t hat t he probabilities p' , q' in (30) depend onl y on the observer
paramet ers ~c, ~ and on the pri mary probabi l i t y values p, q. Apart from that,
the success rate of a subject in a PK experiment is in our model independent
of the internal st ruct ure and the complexity of the indeterministic r andom
generator. Thi s feature, the "compl exi t y independence", seems in agreement
with the experimental evidence. (~ ~)
6 . A " M A C R O S C O P I C " E P R E X P E R I M E N T
In discussing the Ei nst ei n-Podol sky-Rosen experiment, one usually
considers two mi croscopi c systems A and B that are spatially separated but
quant um mechani cal l y correlated. In the framework of convent i onal
quant um t heory such an arrangement cannot be used for transmitting infor-
mat i on from A to B.
The PK mechani sm implied by the reduct i on equation (19) coul d
change this, however. Take, for example, the case where the systems A and B
are t wo phot ons in a correl at ed state
1 { A + ) ( B + ) + A - ) B - - ) } ( 3 3 )
Col l aps e o f the St at e Vect or and Psychoki net i c Effect 575
where A+) , A--), and B+) , B- - ) are t wo pol ari sat i on states for phot on A or
B, respectively.
Then i mmedi at el y after an ideal measurement of the pol ari sat i on of
phot on A, the state of the total system (phot ons plus measuring device) can
be written
~) = ~ {~+) + ~--)} (34)
~+) =A+) B+) S+) , ~- - ) =A- - ) B- - ) S- - ) (35)
where S + ) and S - ) are states of the measuring device t hat has
macroscopi cal l y recorded an A+) or A- ) polarisation state of the phot on,
When the human observer becomes aware of the instrument reading, the
states ~+) and ~--) are eigenstates of the correspondi ng projection operat or
Q, so that the final mixture becomes [Eq. (27) with aa* = bb* = 1/2]
11(oo)= ( 1 t ~ 1 e
+ - ~ - ~ 7 ) ~+) ( ~+ @ ( ~ 4 x ) ~ - ) ( ~ - (36)
To transmit a signal from A to B we would need a sufficient number of
correlated phot on pairs and an observer at A with the PK ability to bias the
rate of observed A+ events. Then this coul d be immediately afterwards
observed at B as a correspondi ng bias in the rate of observed B+ events, so
that we would have an unconvent i onal means for i nformat i on
But i f our model is right, then this i nformat i on transmission should
work as well when A and B are macroscopi c systems. Take as example this
arrangement: Fi rst a bi nary random generat or is activated to light a red or a
green lamp. Next a pol aroi d col or camer a takes two identical pictures of t he
lit lamp. Then the developed pictures are inserted into two opaque envelopes,
A and B, and the envelopes are t aken t o different locations. This procedure
should be conduct ed so t hat at this stage no human observer is aware of the
generated color. Then nat ure has not yet decided for red or green; we have a
macroscopi caUy ambi guous state, with the pictures in the t wo envelopes
quant um mechani cal l y correlated: They are either bot h red or both green. I f
now a successful PK subject opens the envelope A, trying to enforce the
appearance of the color red, this effort would be immediately afterwards
observable as an increased probabi l i t y for the col or red in the envelope B.
Again we would need a sufficient number of correl at ed picture pairs t o have
an efficient communi cat i ons link.
5 7 6 S c h mi d t
For a pract i cal l y mor e convenient st udy of this macr oscopi c quant um
correl at i on effect, one could act i vat e a bi nary r andom generat or
aut omat i cal l y many times and record the bi nary signals as clicks in the right
or left channel, respectively, of a cassette t ape recorder. Next one would
copy the t ape and t hen send one t ape (syst em A) to a PK subject and keep
the other t ape (syst em B) in the l abor at or y. The subject would listen t hrough
stereo head-phones to the t ape A t ryi ng to receive more clicks in, say, the
right channel. Then a recount i ng of the clicks on t ape B in the l abor at or y
should find an excess of signals in the right channel.
Several similar experi ment s with slightly different forms of dat a st orage
and di spl ay have suggested the existence of the correl at i on effect, ~13) in
agreement with our model.
A. Binary event seen by two observers simultaneously
I f two observers with par amet er s x l , e I and ~2,~2 l ook at the same
bi nary event Q = Q1 ~ Q2 then these observers, accordi ng to (19a), act like
one observer with the par amet er s
K= K 1 + K2 , G~ - 6 1 + e 2 (37)
and these are the par amet er s to be used in Equat i on (30) for the cal cul at i on
of the t ot al combi ned PK effect. Not e t hat (for our nonegat i ve I< values)
22 e l ~2 C e l
- - < - - implies - - < - - < - - (38)
K 2 K 1 K 2 K K 1
so t hat the combi ned PK effect from the two observers cannot be stronger
t han the effect from the "bet t er " PK subject alone.
Experi ment ers had initially assumed naively t hat the combi ned effort of
two positive PK scorers should lead to an enhanced effect. But no such effect
has been report ed.
To underst and our result intuitively, not e t hat the PK effect occurs onl y in
the process of reduct i on f r om the macr oscopi cal l y ambi guous state into the
col l apsed state, and t hat each observer can appl y his PK effort onl y to t hat
fract i on of the initial state t hat is not col l apsed by the other observer.
B. Subsequent Observations of the same Binary Event
After one observer has, in our exampl e, made compl et el y certain
whether the red or the green l amp is lit, wc would expect a compl et e
Collapse of the State Vector and Psychokinetic Effect 577
reduction, with a mixture given by (27), so that a subsequent observation of
the lamps would change nothing.
But if the first observation were interrupted at some time t o so that the
observer had only a subliminal impression of the color, then only a certain
fraction ~ of the initial state were reduced, leaving us with a mixture of the
form [see (24) and (26) with 0 = 1 - e -'~t]
/ ~' : ( 1- 0) ) ( @v ~ ( l +e ~bb*] a a *l ) ( ,
@0 ( 1- ~-Laa*t bb*~2)(~ z
t~ /
Assuming subsequently a complete observation by the second observer,
the final mixture becomes
p' (oo) = (1 + 2bb*) aa*~) ( ~ @ (1 -- J, aa*) bb*~z)(~2 (40)
= o + (1 - o) ( 42)
K 1 K 2
An incomplete reduction, similar to (39) might also result if the human
observer is half asleep or inattentive so that he forgets immediately what he
has seen, or perhaps even if a cat or a cockroach has observed the lamps.
To test experimentally whether and to what extent a cat' s observation
might have reduced the initial state, let the cat' s observation be followed by a
complete human observation by an observer with known PK effect, e/K > 0.
Assuming that the cat reduces the fraction 0 of the initial state, and
disregarding for simplicity a possible cat PK effect, the final mixture
becomes [(40) and (41) with e I = O, e2/R7 2 = ~/ / ~]
t'(oo)= [t + (l + ~)--~ bb* ]aa*~l)(~l
@[ 1 (1 0) e ]
- -- - - aa* bb*~2)(~ 2
Provided that we had an observer with sufficiently stable PK perfor-
mance, we could measure his success rate with and without previous obser-
vation of the lamps by the cat. (The observer should not know whether or
not there was a cat observing, so that he approaches both situations in the
same mental state.)
578 Se hmi dt
Equation (42) gives for the success rates in the two situations
b / ,
w t o u t a t ) ] a a *
p(wi t h cat) = [1 + (1 - v~)bb *] aa*
from which the value of ~ can be derived.
C. Two Different Binary Observations
Consider two projections operators Q~ and Q2 corresponding to
different bi nary macroscopic observations. Then we may assume ~18) that
these macroscopic operators Q1 and Q2 commute. With an initial state
r / =~) ( ~ conventional quant um mechanics gives for the probabilities
associated with the observations of one or both variables
P(Q, = 1) = Tr(r/Q1), P(Qz = 1) = Tr(r/Q2 )
P(Qj = 1, Q2 = 1) = Tr(r/Ql Q2)
Same with Q~ or Q2 replaced by Q1, Q2
If the expectation value for Qz is independent of the outcome of a previous
Q~ measurement, then
P(Q, = 1, Q2 = 1 ) = P ( Q, = 1) P( Q2= 1) (45)
Tr(r/Q1 Q2) = Tr(r/Q0 Tr(qQz)
Same with Q1 or Qz replaced by Q1, Q2
Returning to our model, let us assume that first a complete observation
of Q~ (with ~c1, e~) is made and subsequently a complete observation of Q2
(with Kz, e2). By applying (27) twice we can easily calculate the final
mixture and the probabilities for the four possible outcomes of the two obser-
vations. Let me list here explicitly only the resulting average value for the
observable Q2 :
Tr( Q,G)]
K2 ] Xr(,IQ Q2)
+ ez Tr01Q,, Qz) ] Tr(r/(~i Q:)
x2 Tr(r/Q1)
Col l apse o f the State Vect or and Ps ychoki net i c Effect 579
In the special case that the observa01es QI and Q2 are independent in
the sense of convent i onal quant um t heory, (47) reduces with (46) to
P(Q2 = I ) = [ I + ~ Tr(tlQ2) ] Tr(~IQ2) (48)
i.e., in this case the out come of the second observat i on is independent of any
reduction or PK effect exerted by the first observer.
Let me mention in this cont ext an actual experiment (I9) performed in
the following steps:
1, With the help of radi oact i ve decays as sources of true randomness a six
digit (decimal) r andom number is generated and recorded.
2. This number is observed carefully by the experimenter.
3. The number is fed as seednumber into a deterministic comput er
"r andomness" program such as to produce a bi nary quasi r andom sequence.
4. The bi nary sequence is di spl ayed to a PK subject as a sequence of red
and green signals (or in some ot her way) while the subject tries to enforce
the appearance of many "r ed" signals.
In part of the experiment the observation in step 2 was omitted. In this case
the PK subject encounters a noncol l apsed ensemble of many different
possible color sequences correspondi ng to the different possible seednumbers
so that the conditions for a PK effect were cert ai nl y given.
But the out come of the experiment showed a PK effect also in the part
where the experimenter had looked at the seednumbers. Thus there appeared
to be no significant collapse, even though the experimenter had enough infor-
mation to derive from the seed-number in principle (after some hours of
pencil and paper cal cul at i on) the finally displayed bi nary sequence.
This result may help us to a better understanding of what constitutes a
"consci ous observat i on" t hat collapses the state vector. Not e that the
seednumbers did not convey meaningful i nformat i on to the observer, or
i nformat i on he could remember (the large number of seednumbers used in
the whole experiment were inspected in one sitting). It is true that the
experimenter might have remembered some features of the seednumbers. For
example, he might have count ed the relative frequencies of even and odd
seednumbers and t hat might have induced some partial collapse. But this
count is independent of the frequencies of green and red signals in the bi nary
sequence so t hat accordi ng to our previous calculation (48) this partial
reduction does not affect the success of the PK effort.
580 Schmi dt
Our mai n concern in this paper was the search for some self consistent
f or mal i sm t hat mi ght describe the report ed psychoki net i c effects. Wi t h
experi ment at i on in this field slow and tedious, and with the report ed effects
far outside the range of our ever yday intuition, there is a need for theoretical
models, no mat t er how t ent at i ve and prel i mi nary, to help in the pl anni ng of
syst emat i c experiments.
Usi ng the avai l abl e f r ame of quant um t heory to formul at e such a first
model seems economi cal : Many earlier at t empt s at changi ng quant um
mechani cs have shown t hat even "s mal l " modi fi cat i ons of the f or mal i sm can
lead t o apparent l y unreasonabl e effects. And by post ul at i ng a part i cul ar
"reduct i on mechani s m" t o accompany an observat i on, we are led to a
logically self consi st ent model t hat can accomodat e psychoki net i c effects and
makes quant i t i ve predi ct i ons for future PK experiments.
On the mor e specul at i ve side one mi ght wonder whether the connect i on
between quant um t heory and psychoki nesi s is perhaps of a mor e profound
nature. Coul d the singular role of the human subject as source of the PK
effect be related to the cont roversi al role of the observer in quant um t heory,
and does the report ed PK effect on quant um j umps indicate some i ncom-
pleteness in the current quant um f or mal i sm?
Taki ng this connect i on seriously, our model descri bes the reduct i on of a
macr oscopi cal l y ambi guous st at e in the process of observat i on as a
"physi cal l y r eal " process. And the PK effect appear s as a new t ool for the
physi ci st t o distinguish between "col l apsed" and "noncol l apsed" states.
The model does not at t empt to explain the nat ure of consci ousness and
its rel at i onshi p to basi c quant um theory. I t t reat s the human observer and its
i nt eract i on with the rest of the world in a purel y phenomenol ogi cal manner.
Nevertheless, the model may be rel evant with regard to very basi c questions
because it suggests t hat one aspect to consci ousness, its act i on on the state
vect or collapse, can be appr oached experi ment al l y.
In the presented, nonrelativistic f or mat i on of our model , we could
uphold causal i t y in a certain sense: Consi der, for exampl e, the case where a
decision by a bi nary r andom generat or is aut omat i cal l y recorded and one
hour later inspected by an observer who exerts a psychoki net i c effect. Thi s
mi ght suggest t hat the later effort of the observer had affected the earlier
r andom decision in a noncausal manner. But if we abandon the requi rement
of an absol ut e macr oscopi c reality and admi t macr oscopi cal l y ambi guous
states, t hen at the t i me of observat i on the "physi cal real i t y" consists of the
two options and the observer' s efforts do not have to reach into the past in
order to select one of the t wo offered possibilities.
In a relativistic general i zat i on of the model, the col l apse of the state
Col l apse o f the State Vect or and Psychoki net i c Effect 581
v e c t o r mi g h t a p p e a r as a t i me s y mme t r i c " c o l l a p s e a nd a n t i c o l l a p s e ' ' (2) a nd
n o n c a u s a l i t y wo u l d be u n a v o i d a b l e . But wh e t h e r s uc h an i nt e r e s t i ng
g e n e r a l i z a t i o n is p o s s i b l e r e ma i n s t o be seen,
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