Thread: Heisenberg uncertainity principle related to real life

1. Ok for anyone who doesn't know the idea behind this. the basic thing is to observe certain events or objects you have to interact with what you want to observe. and by interacting with the object you can change its original intention.

for example to observe an electron you have to interact it with a photon. by this interaction you change the momentum of the electron etc.

so in real life where it is known as the hawthorne effect. imagine the scenario. a guy is in a relationship. he goes to town with another girl for an unknown reason. someone spots him in town with this girl and tells the guys partner, this leads to a string of horrible consequences.

if the guy hadnt been observed nothing would of happened. surely the observer is at fault here

2.

3. Originally Posted by jacketate
Ok for anyone who doesn't know the idea behind this. the basic thing is to observe certain events or objects you have to interact with what you want to observe. and by interacting with the object you can change its original intention.

for example to observe an electron you have to interact it with a photon. by this interaction you change the momentum of the electron etc.

so in real life where it is known as the hawthorne effect. imagine the scenario. a guy is in a relationship. he goes to town with another girl for an unknown reason. someone spots him in town with this girl and tells the guys partner, this leads to a string of horrible consequences.

if the guy hadnt been observed nothing would of happened. surely the observer is at fault here
I don't think your example correctly illustrates the theory. The point is that the very act of observation changes the behavior of that which is being observed.

Say instead that guy A was having dinner with this unknown woman when guy B from his hometown walks into the restaurant and sees them. Assuming the couple aren't acting very touchy-feely, guy B might just assume its a business relationship and move on. However, let's say that guy A notices that guy B has spotted him. This makes guy A very nervous and his behavior changes, making him look guilty. Then guy B may begin to suspect that something's wrong.

That would be a better example.

This is also why I think the uncertainty principle would only apply to human behavior if the oberservee realized they were being observed. It is possible to observe people (i.e. with a hidden camera) and for them to not be aware they're being observed, and so they can continue to behave the way they would if they thought they were alone.

4. Originally Posted by jacketate
so in real life where it is known as the hawthorne effect. imagine the scenario. a guy is in a relationship. he goes to town with another girl for an unknown reason. someone spots him in town with this girl and tells the guys partner, this leads to a string of horrible consequences.

if the guy hadnt been observed nothing would of happened. surely the observer is at fault here
You can't know the position of your date's boyfriend and your real girlfriend at the same time.

1. The Uncertainty Principle in physics applies to a very, very limited scale (related to the size of Planck's Constant), which uncertainty or lack of precision in measurement is way too small for us to measure in the realm of social interaction, and

2. There seems to be a general misapprehension that the uncertainty spoken of is 'caused by' observation. In fact, the notion that observation causes it is used as an example or illustration to help people make intuitive sense of the matter. The Uncertainty Principle itself applies to all interactions, observed or otherwise and is taken to be a foundational principle in modern physics.

3. So if all you are attempting is an analogy, that's fine, but please don't lumber poor old Werner Heisenberg's Principle with too much of a weight of social sciences expectations.

4. Your final point, Jacketate, seems to suggest that you are willing to jump straight from this analogy to moral judgement regarding 'fault'. Why?

cheer

shanks

6. The reason is because i was reading this principle and trying to relate it to a real life situation.

Perhaps the word fault was the wrong word. but i was curious as to which person drove the events in the path they took.

I missed out a part in my analogy.
Say guy A and girl B are having dinner. and get spotted by Guy C. Guy C is a loyal friend of guy A's partner Girl D. He phones her tells her he spotted A and B together. she will jump to a conclusion and accuse A of cheating. and then the consequences unfold.

Would you agree that the observer potentially drove the events down a completely different path than what originally could have been intended.

e.g. its a business meeting but because A is accused he decides to cheat with B because of the accusation despite not originally having intentions to do that

7. Originally Posted by jacketate
The reason is because i was reading this principle and trying to relate it to a real life situation.

Perhaps the word fault was the wrong word. but i was curious as to which person drove the events in the path they took.

I missed out a part in my analogy.
Say guy A and girl B are having dinner. and get spotted by Guy C. Guy C is a loyal friend of guy A's partner Girl D. He phones her tells her he spotted A and B together. she will jump to a conclusion and accuse A of cheating. and then the consequences unfold.

Would you agree that the observer potentially drove the events down a completely different path than what originally could have been intended.

e.g. its a business meeting but because A is accused he decides to cheat with B because of the accusation despite not originally having intentions to do that
um - it sounds like you're trying to justify a personal situation with a physics principle. And i don't think that's very appropriate. If you want advice or opinions on a specific issue then just say so, and don't try to make it sound like something else.

If girl D is that willing to jump to conclusions about something she (presumably) knows nothing about, then she may not be worth dating anyway. Unless guy C completely exaggerates and/or lies about what he saw in order to make guy A look guilty - only then is the resulting mess his fault. Still, a reasonable girlfriend would get all the facts first.

However, this in no way justifies guy A's cheating on girl D. A relationship is a relationship. If you want to fool around with other people, end your relationship first. Then do whatever the hell you want.

8. This has nothing to do with me, im just trying to relate it to real life.

this physics principle is also known as the hawthorne effect which is a proven theory and comes up in social science study.

All that stuff about not being worth dating, and getting all the facts, not really relevant, more of a girls lunch chat than a scientific discussion

9. Originally Posted by jacketate
This has nothing to do with me, im just trying to relate it to real life.

this physics principle is also known as the hawthorne effect which is a proven theory and comes up in social science study.

All that stuff about not being worth dating, and getting all the facts, not really relevant, more of a girls lunch chat than a scientific discussion
Heh. You're the one who came up with the multi person scenario of he-did-he-saw-she-said etc. And if we're talking about human behavior, I don't see how this could not be part of a reasonable discussion.

10. the Romans had a nice little saying "omnis comparatio claudicat" - every analogy goes wrong at some point

this is one case where your application of Heisenberg's principle is an unwarranted extension beyond the original scope

11. Originally Posted by marnixR
the Romans had a nice little saying "omnis comparatio claudicat" - every analogy goes wrong at some point

this is one case where your application of Heisenberg's principle is an unwarranted extension beyond the original scope
Thank you for making that point (and I love the latin tag!)

After a while, this story is better handled using game theory or choice theory, surely - well established fields in the social sciences (particularly economics)?

12. Originally Posted by jacketate
This has nothing to do with me, im just trying to relate it to real life.
It has everything to do with you, since you are the one who is misapplying and misunderstanding diverse concepts.
Originally Posted by jacketate
this physics principle is also known as the hawthorne effect which is a proven theory and comes up in social science study.
No it isn't. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle has bugger all to do with the Hawthorne effect. If you had any meaningful knowledge of either you would know this to be the case.
Originally Posted by jacketate
All that stuff about not being worth dating, and getting all the facts, not really relevant, more of a girls lunch chat than a scientific discussion
Paralith tried to bring some science into your mundane waffle. Apparently you think that's a bad idea.

jacketate, I've re-read the foregoing and concede it is somewhat harsh, but shoot, you really are tacking codswallop on this one. :wink:

13. If girl D is that willing to jump to conclusions about something she (presumably) knows nothing about, then she may not be worth dating anyway. Unless guy C completely exaggerates and/or lies about what he saw in order to make guy A look guilty - only then is the resulting mess his fault. Still, a reasonable girlfriend would get all the facts first.

However, this in no way justifies guy A's cheating on girl D. A relationship is a relationship. If you want to fool around with other people, end your relationship first. Then do whatever the hell you want.
it just seems to me this is about morality not science.

Heisenberg uncertainity principle basics-- the change caused by observation

Hawthorne effect -- the change in a persons behaviour caused by observation.

seems to me that they are quite similair. i was reading the heisenberg principle and trying to relate it to real life and came across the hawthorne effect. it seems to me that they are quite similair.

It has everything to do with you, since you are the one who is misapplying and misunderstanding diverse concepts.
once again you misunderstand me. paralith said it was a personal situation to do with me. when i said i had nothing to do with it, i was saying the situation that arose wasnt my personal experience. it was a hypothetical situation.

14. Originally Posted by jacketate
If girl D is that willing to jump to conclusions about something she (presumably) knows nothing about, then she may not be worth dating anyway. Unless guy C completely exaggerates and/or lies about what he saw in order to make guy A look guilty - only then is the resulting mess his fault. Still, a reasonable girlfriend would get all the facts first.

However, this in no way justifies guy A's cheating on girl D. A relationship is a relationship. If you want to fool around with other people, end your relationship first. Then do whatever the hell you want.
it just seems to me this is about morality not science.
and morality cannot be discussed in a scientific context?

I said, it sounds like you're talking about a "personal situation." Considering that I previously described how your example does not correctly illustrate your theory, and you persisted in using it, it seemed like the particulars of the situation were more important to you than the theory of itself.

Anyhow, in the particulars of that situation, you are incorrect to assume that the resulting interpersonal mess is the sole fault of the observer. It is equally the fault of the girlfriend for jumping to conclusions. However, it is guy A's own fault for actually cheating. That is not the observer's fault either. The theory you're trying to illustrate states that the act of being observed causes a change in the behavior of the observee. To "cause a change" and "to be at fault" are two different things. Unlike observing an electron, a human being who finds himself being watched does not necessarily have to commit certain behaviors as a result. It is the human observee's responsibility to continue to act reasonably and morally even in the face of being observed. The observer may be the cause of the behavior, but they are not responsible for it, not at fault because of it. You brought morality into this discussion, not me.

15. Unlike observing an electron, a human being who finds himself being watched does not necessarily have to commit certain behaviors as a result. It is the human observee's responsibility to continue to act reasonably and morally even in the face of being observed. The observer may be the cause of the behavior, but they are not responsible for it, not at fault because of it. You brought morality into this discussion, not me.
yeh i see what you are saying there about the person being observed still having a choice. however it is fair to say that the observer will have had an effect on the situation and eventual outcome.

by fault i suppose i meant which person had the biggest effect. does that still count as morality. sorry for my bad use of terms =).

and morality cannot be discussed in a scientific context?
quote of darwin " A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone"
i don't think morality should play a part

16. Originally Posted by jacketate
quote of darwin " A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone"
i don't think morality should play a part
I meant as the subject of discussion. Morality, it's origins, it's purpose, etc, can most certainly be discussed in a scientific context. The evolution of morality is something many respected researchers in evolution and behavior have addressed.

17. Ah yeh my mistake, i suppose we can look at morality in a scientific context, but i don't believe we should use morality to analyse science which is what i thought you were suggesting. my bad

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