The Hick-Hyman law states that in a reaction-time experiment, the average reaction time of a human subject is a linear function of the average information $\sum -p \log p$, i.e. the entropy, contained in the stimulus. [Hyman 1953]

Where can I get data supporting this? Data from Hyman’s paper would be great!

EDIT: more precisely, I'm looking for a complete, trial-by-trial dataset; not just averages.


1 Answer 1


In Hyman (1953) the following data is shown (Fig.1). The bits of information were the number of choices in an AFC task, where 1 to 8 alternatives corresponded to 0, 1, 1.58, 2.00, 2.32, 2.58, 2.81, and 3 bits of information (the 2log of the N alternatives).

Hyman 1953
Fig. 1. RT as a function of bits of info. source: Hyman (1953)

- Hyman, J Exp Psychol (1953); 45(3): 188-96

  • $\begingroup$ thanks, this is indeed the paper I'm referring to, in my question. I should have been much more precise in my question, so I've just edited it: I'm actually looking for trial-by-trial data, not averages. $\endgroup$
    – Arthur
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ Likely unavailable after more than 60 years. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 13:04

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