Visual vs auditory coupling in dyads under different task difficulty

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Werner, Adam
Gorman, Jamie C.
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Due to lack of visual or auditory perceptual information, many tasks require interpersonal coordination and teaming. Dyadic verbal and/or auditory communication typically results in the two people becoming informationally coupled. Previous research suggests that coupling between two individuals can take place auditorily or visually during intentional and unintentional tasks (i.e., Richardson, Marsh, & Schmidt, 2005; Gorman, Amazeen, Crites, & Gibson, 2017). This experiment examined coupling by using a two-person remote navigation task where one participant blindly drove a remote-controlled car while another participant provided auditory, visual, or a combination of both informational cues (bimodal) to navigate the driver. Under these three perceptual-motor coupling conditions, participants’ performance was evaluated using easy, moderate, and hard task difficulty conditions. I predicted that the visual coupling condition would have higher performance measures overall, and the bimodal (combination of auditory and visual cues) coupling condition would have higher performance as difficulty increased. Results indicated that visual coupling performs best overall. When auditory coupling is used (auditory and bimodal conditions), medium difficulty had worse performance compared to hard difficulty, an unexpected result. This result can be attributed to the frequency at which teams verbally communicate. Though intuitive, the faster teams speak, the better they perform. Applications within team coordination and potential theories that could explain cue rate results and poorer performance at medium compared to hard difficulty is discussed.
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