Quantum-like models cannot account for the conjunction fallacy

Thomas Boyer, Sébastien Duchêne, Éric Guerci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Human agents happen to judge that a conjunction of two terms is more probable than one of the terms, in contradiction with the rules of classical probabilities---this is the conjunction fallacy. One of the most discussed accounts of this fallacy is currently the quantum-like explanation, which relies on models exploiting the mathematics of quantum mechanics. The aim of this paper is to investigate the empirical adequacy of major quantum-like models which represent beliefs with quantum states. We first argue that they can be tested in three different ways, in a question order effect configuration which is different from the traditional conjunction fallacy experiment. We then carry out our proposed experiment, with varied methodologies from experimental economics. The experimental results we get are at odds with the predictions of the quantum-like models. This strongly suggests that this quantum-like account of the conjunction fallacy fails. Future possible research paths are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-510
JournalTheory and Decision
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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