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Making oneself predictable: reduced temporal variability facilitates joint action coordination.

Vesper C, van der Wel RP, Knoblich G, Sebanz N - Exp Brain Res (2011)

Bottom Line: Across all experiments, we found that coactors reduced the variability of their actions in the joint context compared with the same task performed individually.The relation between reduced variability and improved coordination performance was not observed when pairs of participants performed independent tasks next to each other without intending to coordinate.These findings support the claim that reducing variability is used as a coordination strategy to achieve predictability.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Center for Cognition, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands. c.vesper@donders.ru.nl

ABSTRACT
Performing joint actions often requires precise temporal coordination of individual actions. The present study investigated how people coordinate their actions at discrete points in time when continuous or rhythmic information about others' actions is not available. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that making oneself predictable is used as a coordination strategy. Pairs of participants were instructed to coordinate key presses in a two-choice reaction time task, either responding in synchrony (Experiments 1 and 2) or in close temporal succession (Experiment 3). Across all experiments, we found that coactors reduced the variability of their actions in the joint context compared with the same task performed individually. Correlation analyses indicated that the less variable the actions were, the better was interpersonal coordination. The relation between reduced variability and improved coordination performance was not observed when pairs of participants performed independent tasks next to each other without intending to coordinate. These findings support the claim that reducing variability is used as a coordination strategy to achieve predictability. Identifying coordination strategies contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms involved in real-time coordination.

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Results of Experiment 3 (sequential coordination). a Leaders’ reaction times were less variable (reduced standard deviation) in the joint condition than in the individual condition. Error bars display within-subject confidence intervals (Loftus and Masson 1994). b Reaction times of the leader were faster in the joint compared with the individual condition. c Zero-order correlations showed that the asynchrony between leaders’ and followers’ responses was positively correlated with the standard deviation and mean reaction times of the leader. Moreover, partial correlations (in brackets) indicate that the leader’s response variability had a direct influence on asynchrony (thick black arrow), whereas speeding supported coordination only indirectly (significance levels: *P < .05; **P < .001)
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Fig5: Results of Experiment 3 (sequential coordination). a Leaders’ reaction times were less variable (reduced standard deviation) in the joint condition than in the individual condition. Error bars display within-subject confidence intervals (Loftus and Masson 1994). b Reaction times of the leader were faster in the joint compared with the individual condition. c Zero-order correlations showed that the asynchrony between leaders’ and followers’ responses was positively correlated with the standard deviation and mean reaction times of the leader. Moreover, partial correlations (in brackets) indicate that the leader’s response variability had a direct influence on asynchrony (thick black arrow), whereas speeding supported coordination only indirectly (significance levels: *P < .05; **P < .001)

Mentions: Leaders’ performance was analyzed with mixed ANOVAs with the within-subject factors Condition (individual condition vs. joint condition) and Congruency (congruent vs. incongruent) and the between-subject factor Correspondence (corresponding mapping vs. non-corresponding mapping) on standard deviation of reaction time (STD) and mean reaction time (RT). In addition, we computed partial and zero-order correlations between STD, RTs, and the asynchrony between the two coactors’ RTs. Followers’ responses were only considered in so far as they concerned leaders’ performance, i.e., as contributing to the pair’s asynchronies. Error trials (wrong key, no response, responses shorter than 200 ms or longer than 1,000 ms, or responses in which the follower responded at the same time or before the leader) were removed from the analyses and are reported in more detail later. To ensure that differences between conditions were not due to simple learning effects, we first analyzed the RT data blockwise (Fig. 5b). Two one-way ANOVAs with the within-subject factor Block (1–3 for individual, 1–6 in joint) revealed no significant changes in the individual and joint conditions, all P > .08. Therefore, the data were pooled over blocks for the remaining analyses.Fig. 5


Making oneself predictable: reduced temporal variability facilitates joint action coordination.

Vesper C, van der Wel RP, Knoblich G, Sebanz N - Exp Brain Res (2011)

Results of Experiment 3 (sequential coordination). a Leaders’ reaction times were less variable (reduced standard deviation) in the joint condition than in the individual condition. Error bars display within-subject confidence intervals (Loftus and Masson 1994). b Reaction times of the leader were faster in the joint compared with the individual condition. c Zero-order correlations showed that the asynchrony between leaders’ and followers’ responses was positively correlated with the standard deviation and mean reaction times of the leader. Moreover, partial correlations (in brackets) indicate that the leader’s response variability had a direct influence on asynchrony (thick black arrow), whereas speeding supported coordination only indirectly (significance levels: *P < .05; **P < .001)
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Fig5: Results of Experiment 3 (sequential coordination). a Leaders’ reaction times were less variable (reduced standard deviation) in the joint condition than in the individual condition. Error bars display within-subject confidence intervals (Loftus and Masson 1994). b Reaction times of the leader were faster in the joint compared with the individual condition. c Zero-order correlations showed that the asynchrony between leaders’ and followers’ responses was positively correlated with the standard deviation and mean reaction times of the leader. Moreover, partial correlations (in brackets) indicate that the leader’s response variability had a direct influence on asynchrony (thick black arrow), whereas speeding supported coordination only indirectly (significance levels: *P < .05; **P < .001)
Mentions: Leaders’ performance was analyzed with mixed ANOVAs with the within-subject factors Condition (individual condition vs. joint condition) and Congruency (congruent vs. incongruent) and the between-subject factor Correspondence (corresponding mapping vs. non-corresponding mapping) on standard deviation of reaction time (STD) and mean reaction time (RT). In addition, we computed partial and zero-order correlations between STD, RTs, and the asynchrony between the two coactors’ RTs. Followers’ responses were only considered in so far as they concerned leaders’ performance, i.e., as contributing to the pair’s asynchronies. Error trials (wrong key, no response, responses shorter than 200 ms or longer than 1,000 ms, or responses in which the follower responded at the same time or before the leader) were removed from the analyses and are reported in more detail later. To ensure that differences between conditions were not due to simple learning effects, we first analyzed the RT data blockwise (Fig. 5b). Two one-way ANOVAs with the within-subject factor Block (1–3 for individual, 1–6 in joint) revealed no significant changes in the individual and joint conditions, all P > .08. Therefore, the data were pooled over blocks for the remaining analyses.Fig. 5

Bottom Line: Across all experiments, we found that coactors reduced the variability of their actions in the joint context compared with the same task performed individually.The relation between reduced variability and improved coordination performance was not observed when pairs of participants performed independent tasks next to each other without intending to coordinate.These findings support the claim that reducing variability is used as a coordination strategy to achieve predictability.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Center for Cognition, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands. c.vesper@donders.ru.nl

ABSTRACT
Performing joint actions often requires precise temporal coordination of individual actions. The present study investigated how people coordinate their actions at discrete points in time when continuous or rhythmic information about others' actions is not available. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that making oneself predictable is used as a coordination strategy. Pairs of participants were instructed to coordinate key presses in a two-choice reaction time task, either responding in synchrony (Experiments 1 and 2) or in close temporal succession (Experiment 3). Across all experiments, we found that coactors reduced the variability of their actions in the joint context compared with the same task performed individually. Correlation analyses indicated that the less variable the actions were, the better was interpersonal coordination. The relation between reduced variability and improved coordination performance was not observed when pairs of participants performed independent tasks next to each other without intending to coordinate. These findings support the claim that reducing variability is used as a coordination strategy to achieve predictability. Identifying coordination strategies contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms involved in real-time coordination.

Show MeSH