The Tsirelson Project:
Psi and quantum entanglement
In recent decades, empirical evidence favoring the psi hypothesis has grown considerably. As a consequence, scientific efforts have shifted from merely documenting evidence to gathering data that will be useful for understanding psi. However, because psi raises deep questions about consciousness, causality and the mind-matter relation, theoretical progress will need input from new experiments that address these various aspects.
Of particular concern is the reckoning with physics. Quantum theory is the singularly successful bedrock of physical theory, yet it is uncertain whether the theory can encompass psi effects. There are intriguing parallels between certain quantum and psi phenomena, and quantum effects are known to emerge in brain processes related to consciousness. But before embarking on a risky attempt to incorporate psi into quantum theory, we need to question the assumption as to whether it is possible in the first place. In other words, is there an experiment that can tell us if psi obeys quantum theory, or if it 'breaks' it.
An experimental paradigm to address this question has been developed at the IMI, in collaboration with the California Institute of Noetic Sciences. Using the property of entanglement, the experiment probes the quantum correlations of paired photons and examines whether psi effects can push the correlations beyond the mathematical limit stipulated by quantum theory. This limit, called the Tsirelson Bound, separates quantum behavior from hypothetical super-quantum effects that have never been observed. So, does psi violate the Tsirelson Bound and push phenomena into a super-quantum regime? Or, does psi obey the Bound, suggesting that a quantum description of psi may be feasible? The experiments are in an early stage and will be refined in the coming years. For those with a technical inclination, a publication of the first results is available here.