DOI: 10.14704/nq.2011.9.1.347

The Role of the Observer in the Collapse of the Wave Function: a Cognitive and Linguistic Analysis of the Double Slits Experiment

Wasney de Almeida Ferreia


The goals of this paper are to analyze cognitively and linguistically the Double Slit Experiment, trying to understand what the functions of the observer in the collapse function wave are. To do it, a didactic video that explains the experiment in great detail was selected, and the audio (Brazilian Portuguese) was transcribed and rigorously analyzed. The theory that enabled to do this analysis was the Conceptual Metaphor, a central theory in the Cognitive Linguistics field. The results were: DOUBLE SLIT EXPERIMENT was conceptualized and understood in terms of TRAVEL; ELECTRON was conceptualized sometimes in terms of OBJECT (CORPUSCLE); ELECTRON was another time conceptualized in terms of FLUID (WAVE). How a TRAVELER is an OBJECT and not a FLUID, the particular ELECTRON properties are highlighted during the measurement, whereas wave properties keep hiding in cognition. As a conclusion, the Description-Prescription Principle was proposed in this paper, trying to solve the problems between the realism of Natural Sciences and the idealism of Social Sciences.


Double Slit Experiment; epistemology; quantum physics; linguistics; psychology.

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