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Cognitive Workload and Performance of Competitive and Collaborative Teams

Murray Bennett
University of Texas at San Antonio ~ Psychology
Dr. Ami Eidels
University of Newcastle ~ Psychology

Many safety-critical jobs are conducted by teams to improve task performance and minimize risk of error by sharing task requirements. Cognitive workload is also acutely related to task performance whereby increased workload is associated with poorer task performance and low levels of workload associate with greater performance. Where the relationship between workload and performance is well understood at the individual level, less research has focused on the workload of individuals within team environments. Our experiment investigated whether (i) groups benefit individual performance via group interaction or statistical facilitation, and (ii) how teamwork affects cognitive workload. We designed a dual task that required participant dyads (n=50) to collaborate or compete together to prevent a set of virtual balls from hitting the ground whilst concurrently completing the detection response task. We found that group type had little effect on primary measures of player performance or of cognitive load in both collaborative and competitive groups. Assessment of behavioral data indicated differences in load sharing strategy between group types. Finally, we utilized Systems Factorial Technology to describe group performance and found that, although collaborative and competitive dyads outperformed individuals, both groups demonstrated limited performance capacity.



Mathematical Psychology

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Cite this as:

Bennett, M. S., & Eidels, A. (2021, February). Cognitive Workload and Performance of Competitive and Collaborative Teams. Paper presented at Australasian Mathematical Psychology Conference 2021. Via