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Psychol Rev. 2009 Apr;116(2):318-42. doi: 10.1037/a0014849.

Dispersion of response times reveals cognitive dynamics.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA 91330-8255, USA.


Trial-to-trial variation in word-pronunciation times exhibits 1/f scaling. One explanation is that human performances are consequent on multiplicative interactions among interdependent processes-interaction dominant dynamics. This article describes simulated distributions of pronunciation times in a further test for multiplicative interactions and interdependence. Individual participant distributions of approximately 1,100 word-pronunciation times were successfully mimicked for each participant in combinations of lognormal and power-law behavior. Successful hazard function simulations generalized these results to establish interaction dominant dynamics, in contrast with component dominant dynamics, as a likely mechanism for cognitive activity.

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