Would this experiment prove consciousness causes collapse

In summary, the experiment would be similar to the quantum eraser experiment except for there is no detector B and eraser, just detector A. In the original experiment detector A destroys the which path information of the original photon, and thus no interference pattern is produced. However in this version whilst destroying the which path information the data is being produced but there is no conscious observer at the detector so that the measurements are being made but nobody can see them. If a clump pattern is produced one could deduce that just measurement without a conscious observer causes collapse, but if an interference pattern is produced one could conclude that a conscious observer is needed to collapse the wave function collapse, because not having a conscious observer at the detector and destroying the which path
  • #1
john taylor
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Firstly i would like to say that i am not advocating the need for a conscious observer to collapse the wave function but i just want to know whether the methodology behind this experiment would prove or disprove this idea.

The experiment would be similar to the quantum eraser experiment except for there is no detector B and eraser, just detector A. In the original experiment detector A destroys the which path information of the original photon, and thus no interference pattern is produced. However in this version whilst destroying the which path information the data is being produced but there is no conscious observer at the detector so that the measurements are being made but nobody can see them.

If a clump pattern is produced one could deduce that just measurement without a conscious observer causes collapse, but if an interference pattern is produced one could conclude that a conscious observer is needed to collapse the wave function collapse, because not having a conscious observer at the detector and destroying the which path information puts to the test whether it is just purely the act of measurement which causes the wave function to collapse due to the lack of a conscious being present.

Would this experiment prove or disprove that consciousness causes wave function collapse?
 
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  • #2
I would say that the remaining detector in your modified experiment would "destroy the interference"*, as information is provided about which slit the photon went through - which-way info is present. Now whether the detector causes wave function collapse or not is another question - it may indeed be the case a conscious observer needs to look at that detector for the wave function to collapse.

*In principle the photon entangles with the detector, described by QM, as a unitary evolution.
 
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  • #3
Hi John, nice thinking and I see your logic.

Unfortunately, it won't really work in practice. The reason why collapse occurs is decoherence of the measurement device. If the measurement device anyhow interacts with the outside world for example the eyes of a conscient observer there will be a collapse. But even without such observer, it would be very hard to keep the detector fully coherent (isolated from the rest of the world).

You may be interested in the von Neumann measurement scheme
 
  • #4
john taylor said:
... there is no conscious observer at the detector so that the measurements are being made but nobody can see them.

... If a clump pattern is produced.

Do you see the contradiction here? How will you know what pattern is produced if you don't look? This is essentially the situation with every version of the "Consciousness Causes Collapse" idea: namely, it cannot be falsified.
 
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  • #5
DrChinese said:
Do you see the contradiction here? How will you know what pattern is produced if you don't look? This is essentially the situation with every version of the "Consciousness Causes Collapse" idea: namely, it cannot be falsified.

Kind of like trying to see whether the refrigerator light is on when the door is closed.
 
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  • #6
It's a damn good question, how to observe the refrigerator light with the door closed, but it's not a question related to QT but a challenge for a clever experimental physicist to design a device to do the measurment.

My spontaneous idea is to put a little digital camera into the fridge and make a movie about what's going on inside when you close the door :-))). SCNR.
 
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  • #7
vanhees71 said:
It's a damn good question, how to observe the refrigerator light with the door closed, but it's not a question related to QT but a challenge for a clever experimental physicist to design a device to do the measurment.

My spontaneous idea is to put a little digital camera into the fridge and make a movie about what's going on inside when you close the door :-))). SCNR.
My first idea is to put a fluorescent material in the fridge for a while, and see whether it will produce light when taken out from the fridge. The kitchen must be in dark.
 
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  • #8
To continue this line of more indirect measurements, how about measuring the power? If the compressor isn't running, it should be zero. Alas, we can only rule out that the light is on at certain times. ;-)
 
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  • #9
A thin optical fiber could help perhaps, without changing the closed door position significantly.
 

Related to Would this experiment prove consciousness causes collapse

1. What is the experiment trying to prove?

The experiment is attempting to prove that consciousness has a direct influence on the collapse of a quantum wave function, which is a fundamental aspect of quantum physics.

2. How would the experiment be conducted?

The experiment would involve observing and measuring the behavior of particles in a quantum system, while also monitoring the consciousness of the observer. Any correlation between the two would suggest that consciousness plays a role in the collapse of the wave function.

3. What is the current understanding of consciousness and its relationship to quantum mechanics?

The relationship between consciousness and quantum mechanics is still a topic of debate and research. Some theories suggest that consciousness may have a role in the collapse of the wave function, while others propose that consciousness emerges from the complex interactions of particles in the brain.

4. What would the implications be if the experiment proves consciousness causes collapse?

If the experiment were to successfully prove that consciousness causes collapse, it would challenge our current understanding of reality and the role of consciousness in the universe. It could also have practical applications in fields such as quantum computing and communication.

5. Is there any potential for bias or flaws in the experiment?

Like any scientific experiment, there is always the potential for bias or flaws in the design or execution. It is important for the experiment to be conducted with proper controls and for the results to be replicated by other researchers in order to validate the findings.

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