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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Sep 28;99(13):138103. Epub 2007 Sep 28.

Universal scaling law in human behavioral organization.

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  • 1The Center for Advanced Medical Engineering and Informatics, Osaka University, 1-3 Machikaneyama, Toyonaka-shi, Osaka 560-8531, Japan.


We describe the nature of human behavioral organization, specifically how resting and active periods are interwoven throughout daily life. Active period durations with physical activity count successively above a predefined threshold, when rescaled with individual means, follow a universal stretched exponential (gamma-type) cumulative distribution with characteristic time, both in healthy individuals and in patients with major depressive disorder. On the other hand, resting period durations below the threshold for both groups obey a scale-free power-law cumulative distribution over two decades, with significantly lower scaling exponents in the patients. We thus find universal distribution laws governing human behavioral organization, with a parameter altered in depression.

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