WHAT WILL QUANTITATIVE MEASURES OF TEAMWORK LOOK
LIKE IN 10 YEARS?
Session Chair: Eduardo Salas, Ph.D.
Rice University, Houston, TX
Ron Stevens, Ph.D., UCLA School of Medicine, The Learning Chameleon, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Jamie Gorman, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Nancy J. Cooke, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ
Stephen Guastello, Ph.D., Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Alina A. von Davier, Ph.D., Educational Testing Service, Inc., Princeton, NJ
Nationwide there is a need for cost-effective training
solutions that are highly automated, adaptable, and capable of
producing quantifiable behavioral changes in teams that are
indicative of deep learning. In contrast to what is known
about individual skill acquisition and persistence, relatively
little is known about how team process skills develop; how
well these skills once learned in one context transfer to
another context; how long the skills persist when unused; and,
what interventions or training will most rapidly restore them?
Answering these questions is challenging due to the
limited number of quantitative teamwork measures that track
team performance, cohesion and flexibility across teams, time,
environments and training protocols. Adopting a scientific
approach for studying the effects of training interventions is
problematic without theory and methods that are aligned and
capable of representing and capturing the dynamics of team
A confluence of new technologies will soon generate
enormous amounts of new data at an unprecedented level of
detail about teams. But these data will also raise questions of
their own; principally how researchers will make sense of the
expected onslaught of data and derive general organizing
principles that guide the co-evolution of the complex team and
task interactions. This suggests the need for novel methods
and ways of thinking about team dynamics and measurement.
Our goals are to speculate, given where we are,
where the measurement and assessment of learning and
performance of teams and of individuals in teams might go in
the next decade and how we might get there. As such, some
sample ‘Big’ Questions’ that the panelists were asked to
consider in their presentations include:
• What types of high and low level data abstractions
might provide the most useful quantitative
information about teamwork?
• Across which biologic and interpersonal scales of
teamwork will the strongest information flows be
• Can dynamical clues tell us how well a team is
performing / will perform?
• In addition to performance assessment, what can we
learn from dynamics about team flexibility, cohesion,
leadership, and resilience?
• How can we disentangle individual contributions
from the team contribution and accurately measure
Toward Quantitative Descriptions of the Neurodynamic
Organizations of Teams
UCLA School of Medicine,
The Learning Chameleon, Inc.
Advances in our understanding of the learning
process used by teams while they develop and refine their
team skills have been slowed by a lack of easily understand-
able quantitative approaches that can objectively and
automatically assess collective learning processes and
outcomes over time in training situations.
We have developed symbolic models of teamwork
that capture the brainwave levels of each person of the team,
and situates them in the context of the levels of other team
members as well as the immediate context of the task.
Quantitative estimates of the symbol variations in the data
stream are then made using a moving window of entropy
approach. Periods of decreased entropy represent times of
increased team neurodynamic organization when there were
prolonged and restricted neurodynamic relationships across
members of the teams.
Using this approach we have shown that (a) the
neurodynamic rhythms of six-person US Navy submarine
navigation teams are measurable and are entrained by the task
(Stevens, Gorman, Amazeen, Likens & Galloway, 2013); (b)
the structure of these rhythms is multifractal, resulting from
the meso and micro responses of teams to changes in the task
and the sharing of information across the crew (Likens,
Amazeen, Stevens, Galloway & Gorman, 2014); and (c)
quantitative differences in team’s neurodynamic rhythms are
linked with team expertise, resilience, and communication
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 59th Annual Meeting - 2015 235
Copyright 2015 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. DOI 10.1177/1541931215591048
(Stevens & Galloway, 2014). Consistent with the nonlinear
dynamical systems concepts of elasticity and rigidity in
complex adaptive systems, the expert navigation teams were
positioned at an organizational neurodynamic point midway
between rigid and elastic. These findings suggest the
existence of team-related neurodynamical processes that
quantitatively track across the novice-expert continuum.
Team Performance at the Level of Emergent, Dynamic
Jamie C. Gorman
Georgia Institute of Technology
In a recent series of experiments on dyadic,
interpersonal coordination, we found that the tendency to
spontaneously synchronize one’s movements with those of a
teammate can interfere with human performance in team tasks
like assisted suturing and knot tying (Gorman & Crites, 2014).
Namely, we found that the ability to decouple the hands, such
that they move independently (i.e., to not synchronize), is
fundamental to tying skill and is presumably acquired from an
early age. In the context of unfamiliar, dyadic tying, however,
participants were unable to fight the spontaneous tendency to
synchronize their hand movements, which hurt team
performance. How do we account for phenomena such as this
in the science of team learning? This example is meant to
illustrate the need for team skill acquisition and assessment to
account for high-level, emergent coordinative relations, such
as “sync” (Strogatz, 2003) that structure team performance
beyond the control of the individual.
Interpersonal tying provides a relatively simple
example of how emergent, dynamic coordinative relations
structure team performance, but we see the same phenomena
at work in more complex, cognitive settings, such as
intelligence analysis and planning and team command-and-
control. In those situations, team members self-organize
“cognitive-behavioral” (e.g., communication) patterns without
being consciously aware of it (Dunbar & Gorman, 2014). We
think the key to understanding how emergent coordinative
relations shape team performance is in identifying the
mathematical and statistical dynamics (e.g., sync; self-
organization) that occur as team members interact. In the next
decade, this approach will not produce new models of shared
cognition but will be characterized by mathematical models
that go beyond the individual mental state or top-down
knowledge with the goal of understanding how general
coordinative mechanisms structure team performance. Such
models will also have implications for understanding how
individual psychological processes are structured by emergent,
coordinative relations (Gorman, 2014).
This dynamic approach to understanding team
performance has already provided novel predictions and ways
of thinking about enhancing team performance, including
enhancing team flexibility and resilience. I will briefly
describe research conducted using the dynamic perspective
that has already provided new insights into how teams
develop, what develops, and how to enhance transfer to novel
contexts during skill acquisition in both motor-perceptual and
cognitive-behavioral tasks. I will link these results together by
briefly describing the common theoretical core that underlies
them, and I will briefly describe the types of models and
methodologies that are needed to understand team perform-
ance at the level of emergent, dynamic coordinative relations.
Communication Dynamics for Team Assessment
Nancy J. Cooke
Arizona State University
Teams can be viewed as complex dynamic systems
made up of interacting components that are systems
themselves. As effective teams learn, not only does their
performance improve, but their team process behaviors evolve
to become more flexible, adaptive, and resilient. These
process dynamics have been linked to team effectiveness
(Cooke, Gorman, Myers, & Duran, 2013).Therefore
assessment of team learning can benefit from an under-
standing of the dynamics of team interactions. Team
interactions often take place through communication, though
there are other forms of interaction that are nonverbal
including gestures, facial expressions, and implicit interaction.
Of these data sources, communication is the most straight-
forward to collect and therefore, most commonly collected.
Communication data can be collected unobtrusively. There are
also opportunities to analyze communication data in near-real
time for continuous monitoring of team learning and rapid
intervention. For instance, metrics based on communication
flow from person to person or amount of communication, are
amenable to this real-time processing (Cooke & Gorman,
2009). Research is needed on the association between
communication dynamics and effective team process and
performance in various contexts. Ultimately the discovery of
communication dynamics signatures linked to specific process
and performance across contexts would allow for impactful
and timely interventions.
For example, recent studies in my lab of human-
synthetic teammate teams in the unmanned aerial system
context suggest that coordination can be impacted by a single
team member who knows the ideal communication push and
pull. Future team training may benefit from synthetic team-
mates that are able to serve the role of coordination coach.
Synchronization of Autonomic Arousal in Dyads and
Stephen J. Guastello
Physiological synchronization of autonomic arousal
between people is thought to be an important component of
work team coordination and other interpersonal dynamics. The
group dynamics, in turn, contribute to workload and fatigue
effects at the group level in addition to the individually-
defined work assignments.
The minimum requirements for two living or non-
living entities to synchronize are two oscillators, a feedback
loop between them, and a control parameter that speeds up the
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 59th Annual Meeting - 2015 236
process (Strogatz, 2003). When speed reaches a critical level,
a phase shift occurs such that the system goes into phase-lock.
The first challenges for operationalizing these principles to
human systems include identifying the nature of the
oscillators, the feedback loop, and the control parameter. In
the prototype, the feedback is reciprocal between the two
oscillating entities. In human systems such as interactions in
conversations, both one-way and two-way influences are
possible. The coupling is generally loose and moderated by
the empathy levels of the two parties (Guastello, Pincus &
Gunderson, 2006; Marci, Ham, Moran, & Orr, 2007).
Analytic challenges include: (a) determining the
statistical time series models that capture the dynamics of the
teams’ interaction patterns, (b) finding the optimal lag length
between observations for structuring the models, and (c) con-
necting synchronization parameters to performance variables,
subjective ratings of workload and other group dynamics, and
individual differences of the contributing group members.
Equation 1, for instance, is capable of registering self-
organizing and chaotic processes, and it identified the syn-
chronization links in the sample of dyads more often and with
greater accuracy compared to a linear alternative. In Eq. 1
= A exp(Bz
) + exp(CP
z is the normalized behavior (autonomic arousal) of the target
person at two successive points in time, P is the normalized
behavior of the partner at time 1, and A, B, and C are nonlinear
regression weights (Guastello et al., 2006).
Lag length denotes how much real time is required to
elapse between the two measurements in order to observe the
coupling effect. A measurement at time 2 is a function of
itself at time 1 and a coupling effect from another source also
at time 1. In a vigilance dual task experiment, 73 undergrad-
uates worked in pairs for 90 min while galvanic skin responses
(GSR) were recorded. Event rates on the vigilance task either
increased or decreased without warning during the work
period. Results based on two criteria supported a lag value of
20 sec (Guastello, Reiter & Malon, in press).
The properties of the linear and nonlinear (Eq.1)
autoregressive models, with and without a synchronization
component were examined. All models were more accurate at
a lag of 20 sec compared to customized lag lengths. Although
the linear models were more accurate overall by a margin of 4-
13% of variance accounted for, the nonlinear synchronization
parameters were more often related to psychological variables
and performance. (Guastello, in press). Importantly, greater
synchronization was observed with the nonlinear model when
the target event rate increased, compared to when it decreased,
which was expected from the general theory of synchroniza-
tion. Equation 1 was also more effective for uncovering
inhibitory or dampening relationships between the co-workers
as well as mutually excitatory relationships.
The latest study on this theme involves teams of four
people who play an emergency response (ER) game against a
single opponent, all with GSR recordings. An example data
stream appears in Figure 1. The participants appear to be in
phase lock. The generalizability of this result remains to be
determined. The adaptive value of high levels of synchrony
has also been questioned (Stevens, Galloway, & Lamb, 2014).
Figure 1. GSR readings for five people in an ER game.
As with many games, the ER team and opponent take
turns. It now appears that the optimal lag length is much
shorter for this task. The ER team members are synchronized
with each other and also with the opponent thus producing the
cluster of linkages shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Linkages between ER team members and opponent.
Future research should dissect the experimental tasks
to identify the primary oscillators, feedback loops, possible
control parameters, and conditions that induce higher levels of
synchronization and involve different types of internal group
coordination. Analyses of biometrics need to go beyond dis-
crete event-related potentials, which are commonly used, to
focus instead on continuous streams of data and the analysis of
dynamics therein. The dynamics can then be related to qualita-
tive variables of interest, such as coordination behavior,
communication events, workload manipulations, and ratings
of group processes, thereby building a comprehensive bio-
psychosocial model and generalizable theory.
Collaborative Assessments and Data Analysis
Alina A. von Davier
Educational Testing Service
Educational measurement is undergoing dramatic
change at all levels, with new directions in assessment of
individuals and groups. Some of the most innovative and
exciting features involve conversation-based, technology-
enhanced learning and assessment tools in the areas of
collaborative assessment, game-based learning, and
simulation-based training. Among the advantages of these
approaches is that they support learning of cognitive, social
and affective skills within a common framework and allow for
a detailed collection of the process data in addition to the usual
outcome data in structured log files. Collaborative assessments
in game-like environments integrate many of these different
approaches and tools (Liu, von Davier, Hao, Kyllonen,
Collaboration is one of the skills identified as the
“21st-century skills” and it receives attention among stake-
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 59th Annual Meeting - 2015 237
holders in both higher education and the workplace. The
OECD (OECD, 2013) included a test of collaborative problem
solving skills in its PISA 2015 survey of critical skills.
Collaborative assessment is also being promoted by a global
initiative called Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century
Skills, a partnership among Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and the
University of Melbourne to prepare students to live and work
in information-age societies.
The questions for the educational specialists revolve
around the measurement issues: how can we measure
accurately individual contributions to team success? Shall
collaborative tests be domain specific or are the collaborative
problem solving skills transferable from one domain to
another? How can we integrate the data from the dynamic
process of collaboration and the outcome test data and build
valid measurement models?
Collaborative interactions in computerized
educational environments produce data of extraordinarily high
dimensionality (often containing more variables than people
for whom those variables are measured). Extracting key
features from the noise in such data is crucial not only to make
analysis computationally tractable (Masip, Minguillon, &
Mor, 2011), but also to extract relevant features of student
performance from the noise surrounding them (Kim et al.,
2008). Nowadays, with the technological advantages of
systems for recording, capturing, and recognition (e.g., Kinect
for Windows) of multimodal data, the data from collaborative
interactions contain discourse, actions, gestures, tone, body
language that result in a deluge of data (See Figure 3).
To these types of data we can further add the neurodata
collected with (portable) EEG headsets. One way to attempt to
find patterns among these different types of data is to make
use of data mining techniques.
Data mining does not have a long history in educa-
tion or psychology because, until recently, educational and
psychological data were not often of high enough dimension-
ality to require such techniques. However, these techniques
have been used for decades in fields where data with high
dimensionality has long been the norm, such as finance,
marketing, medicine, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and
computer science (Frawley, Piateski-Shapiro, & Matheus,
1992). The purpose of data mining techniques is to reduce the
dimensionality of the dataset something more manageable
(Hand, Mannila, & Smyth, 2001) by extracting implicit,
interesting, and interpretable patterns (Frawley et al, 1992) in
order to allow research questions to be addressed that would
not otherwise be feasible (Romero et al., 2011). Data mining
methods as those developed by Kerr (in press) and Kerr and
Chung (2012) can be applied to identify patterns of
interactions and strategies of success in collaborative problem
In one of the recent pilot applications at Educational
Testing Service (ETS), we analyzed the behavioral
convergence of test takers in dyads in a science collaborative
problem solving assessment task, the Tetralogue (Luna-
Bazldua, Khan, von Davier, Hao, Liu, Wang, 2015) – see
Figure 3. In order to study evidence of behavioral
convergence, features from log files and video data of 24
study participants were represented as a multi-dimensional
behavioral feature vector composed of cognitive behaviors
(such as the number of messages among the dyad members,
the number of requests for help from the system) and non-
cognitive behaviors (such as engagement, hand-on-face,
anxiety, curiosity, anger, joy, contempt and surprise).
Figure 3. Multimodal data capture including video and action log
files while participants solve a problem collaboratively (using the
ETS’ Tetralogue platform).
A hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on an
Euclidean distance matrix (i.e., a similarity matrix) computed
from the multidimensional behavioral feature data of the study
participants. The cluster analysis revealed that members in the
same dyad tended to group together from the beginning of the
clustering process (i.e., they will be closer to each other in the
feature space than to others). We believe this observed pattern
of agglomeration of the dyad partners could be interpreted as
evidence of convergence of cognitive and non-cognitive states
when people interact in a collaborative task.
Other methods can be considered on these rich data
that exhibit time dependence at the individual level are multi-
variate stochastic processes, time processes, and dynamic
models. Some of these models can accommodate analyzing
the interactions among multiple team members (von Davier &
Halpin, 2013; Halpin & von Davier, 2013); other models are
more appropriate for analyzing the states of collaborative
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