Using a computer game, a research group at Aarhus University has found a way to gain deeper insight into the human thought process.
The results have amazed the research director, who has discovered a kind of ‘atlas of thoughts’. And that is not all. The group can also reveal which gender is best at solving quantum problems.
Are humans born with the ability to solve problems or is it something we learn along the way? A research group at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, is working to find answers to this question.
The research group has developed a computer game called Quantum Moves, which has been played 400,000 times by ordinary people. This has provided unique and deep insight into the human brain’s ability to solve problems. The game involves moving atoms around on the screen and scoring points by finding the best way to do so.
In this way, ordinary people contribute to quantum physics research. Associate Professor Jacob Sherson, director of the research group, explains that a player’s ability to make a strategy and solve a problem is markedly different from the way a computer works. Based on 400,000 game solutions, he can make a start on compiling the results.
“We’re very grateful that the game has been so well received. We’ve seen that the players were surprisingly good at solving the problems we raised in the game. We saw, for instance, a player who’d only studied ninth-grade physics, but was able to solve a quantum physics problem that you’d normally need a PhD in physics just to understand. The game has proved to be a very effective way to map the human thought process,” he says.
The aim of Quantum Moves was to develop a game that could help the researchers look for new ways to develop quantum computers by providing them with insight into the thoughts of a person as opposed to the process in a computer.
“The players showed us that there’s an unexploited capacity for ingenuity in the human brain. We see solutions that a computer would never have allowed, and which optimise the processes,” says Associate Professor Sherson.
Boys versus girls
The group is not yet ready to make a conclusion about the balance of power between man and machine, but one thing they can already say in a clear voice is that females were better at solving problems than males. The results were recently published in the prestigious journal Human Computation.
Read more: ATLAS OF THOUGHTS
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