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Coordination and Collective Performance: Cooperative Goals Boost Interpersonal Synchrony and Task Outcomes

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Whether it be a rugby team or a rescue crew, ensuring peak group performance is a primary goal during collective activities. In reality, however, groups often suffer from productivity losses that can lead to less than optimal outputs. Where researchers have focused on this problem, inefficiencies in the way team members coordinate their efforts has been identified as one potent source of productivity decrements. Here, we set out to explore whether performance on a simple object movement task is shaped by the spontaneous emergence of interpersonally coordinated behavior. Forty-six pairs of participants were instructed to either compete or cooperate in order to empty a container of approximately 100 small plastic balls as quickly and accurately as possible. Each trial was recorded to video and a frame-differencing approach was employed to estimate between-person coordination. The results revealed that cooperative pairs coordinated to a greater extent than their competitive counterparts. Furthermore, coordination, as well as movement regularity were positively related to accuracy, an effect that was most prominent when the task was structured such that opportunities to coordinate were restricted. These findings are discussed with regard to contemporary theories of coordination and collective performance.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The object movement task set-up (large aperture condition).
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Figure 1: The object movement task set-up (large aperture condition).

Mentions: Pairs of participants arrived at the laboratory individually and were briefly introduced to each other before being separated into adjacent rooms. At this point, one participant completed questionnaires to provide basic demographic information (see Supplemental Materials) while the other was introduced to the object movement task. The task (see Figure 1) required participants to move small plastic balls (6 cm diameter), one at a time, from a large container (75 cm x 35 cm), fixed to the top of a table, to a tube located approximately 110 cm away. The receptacle tube was fitted with a lid with an aperture of either 7.5 cm (small aperture condition) or 15.5 cm (large aperture condition). The order of tube size was counterbalanced across pairs. Participants were required to use their dominant hand only while keeping their other hand behind their back, and to move each ball using a single arm movement without throwing them (i.e., to drop or place them into the tube). Importantly, participants were instructed to move the balls as quickly and accurately as possible.


Coordination and Collective Performance: Cooperative Goals Boost Interpersonal Synchrony and Task Outcomes
The object movement task set-up (large aperture condition).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037181&req=5

Figure 1: The object movement task set-up (large aperture condition).
Mentions: Pairs of participants arrived at the laboratory individually and were briefly introduced to each other before being separated into adjacent rooms. At this point, one participant completed questionnaires to provide basic demographic information (see Supplemental Materials) while the other was introduced to the object movement task. The task (see Figure 1) required participants to move small plastic balls (6 cm diameter), one at a time, from a large container (75 cm x 35 cm), fixed to the top of a table, to a tube located approximately 110 cm away. The receptacle tube was fitted with a lid with an aperture of either 7.5 cm (small aperture condition) or 15.5 cm (large aperture condition). The order of tube size was counterbalanced across pairs. Participants were required to use their dominant hand only while keeping their other hand behind their back, and to move each ball using a single arm movement without throwing them (i.e., to drop or place them into the tube). Importantly, participants were instructed to move the balls as quickly and accurately as possible.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Whether it be a rugby team or a rescue crew, ensuring peak group performance is a primary goal during collective activities. In reality, however, groups often suffer from productivity losses that can lead to less than optimal outputs. Where researchers have focused on this problem, inefficiencies in the way team members coordinate their efforts has been identified as one potent source of productivity decrements. Here, we set out to explore whether performance on a simple object movement task is shaped by the spontaneous emergence of interpersonally coordinated behavior. Forty-six pairs of participants were instructed to either compete or cooperate in order to empty a container of approximately 100 small plastic balls as quickly and accurately as possible. Each trial was recorded to video and a frame-differencing approach was employed to estimate between-person coordination. The results revealed that cooperative pairs coordinated to a greater extent than their competitive counterparts. Furthermore, coordination, as well as movement regularity were positively related to accuracy, an effect that was most prominent when the task was structured such that opportunities to coordinate were restricted. These findings are discussed with regard to contemporary theories of coordination and collective performance.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus