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In humans, why do powers laws describe skill acquisition? In particular, $$RT = aP^{-b}+c$$ where $RT$ is reaction time and $P$ is amount of practice.

  • Does the power law generalise to learning in other mammals?
  • Does the power law apply to learning whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Does the power laws apply to creative ideas or just to tangible skills?
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    $\begingroup$ Each of these questions are probably enough for a stand alone question. Is there a particular question that you want to focus on? $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Aug 6 '13 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ From the wikipedia article you cite: "subsequent research by Heathcote, Brown, and Mewhort suggests that the power function observed in learning curves that are averaged across participants is an artifact of aggregation.[3] Heathcote et al. suggest that individual-level data is better fit by an exponential function and the authors demonstrate that the multiple exponential curves will average to produce a curve that is misleadingly well fit by a power function." Do power laws model individual learning well? Or are they an artifact of averaging? $\endgroup$ – Artem Kaznatcheev Apr 18 '15 at 17:38