The cosmological switchback effect

Stefano Baiguera, Rotem Berman, Shira Chapman, Robert C. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The volume behind the black hole horizon was suggested as a holographic dual for the quantum computational complexity of the boundary state in AdS/CFT. This identification is strongly motivated by the switchback effect: a characteristic delay of complexity growth in reaction to an inserted perturbation, modelled as a shockwave in the bulk. Recent proposals of de Sitter (dS) holography suggest that a dual theory could be living on a stretched horizon near the cosmological horizon. We study how the spacetime volume behind the cosmological horizon in Schwarzschild-dS space reacts to the insertion of shockwaves in an attempt to characterize the properties of this dual theory. We demonstrate that a switchback effect can be observed in dS space. That is, the growth of complexity is delayed in reaction to a perturbation. This delay is longer for earlier shocks and depends on a scrambling time which is logarithmic in the strength of the shockwave and proportional to the inverse temperature of the cosmological dS horizon. This behavior is very similar to what happens for AdS black holes, albeit the geometric origin of the effect is somewhat different.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number162
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Black Holes
  • Gauge-Gravity Correspondence
  • Models of Quantum Gravity
  • de Sitter space

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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