- Power laws from individual differences in learning and forgetting: mathematical analyses
- Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 18 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
It has frequently been claimed that learning performance improves with practice according to the so-called "Power Law of Learning." Similarly, forgetting may follow a power law. It has been shown on the basis of extensive simulations that such power laws may emerge through averaging functions with other, nonpower function shapes. In the present article, we supplement these simulations with a mathematical proof that power functions will indeed emerge as a result of averaging over exponential functions, if the distribution of learning rates follows a gamma distribution, a uniform distribution, or a half-normal function. Through a number of simulations, we further investigate to what extent these findings may affect empirical results in practice.
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