Scaling laws in cognitive sciences

C.T. Kello, G.D.A. Brown, R. Ferrer-i-Cancho, J.G. Holden, K. Linkenkaer-Hansen, T. Rhodes, G.C. van Orden

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Scaling laws are ubiquitous in nature, and they pervade neural, behavioral and linguistic activities. A scaling law suggests the existence of processes or patterns that are repeated across scales of analysis. Although the variables that express a scaling law can vary from one type of activity to the next, the recurrence of scaling laws across so many different systems has prompted a search for unifying principles. In biological systems, scaling laws can reflect adaptive processes of various types and are often linked to complex systems poised near critical points. The same is true for perception, memory, language and other cognitive phenomena. Findings of scaling laws in cognitive science are indicative of scaling invariance in cognitive mechanisms and multiplicative interactions among interdependent components of cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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