Investigators hypothesize that, as a result of this immersion/engagement, entrainment should cause the performance of teams that switch between independent and interdependent tasks to suffer. They further hypothesize that the strength of this effect is influenced by member cognitive ability, goal difficulty, engagement, task complexity, and time spent on the prior tasks. Investigators aim to gain a greater understanding of the entrainment process and to propose an intervention that will help crews transition more efficiently between critical independent and interdependent tasks and improve collective performance.
The first experiment is designed to recreate the proposed entrainment effects in a laboratory setting. This will enable investigators to establish task engagement as the reason for these effects and to test the efficacy of their proposed intervention. A sample of approximately 640 participants will be recruited from undergraduate management students. The teams will be randomly distributed across task conditions and interventions. Participants will work together in teams to complete two tasks. Prior to beginning the first task, investigators will administer a short survey measuring their proposed individual boundary conditions (cognitive ability, learning goal orientation, performance goal orientation, achievement striving, openness to experience, and neuroticism). Upon completing the survey, participants will be randomly assigned to teams and to an experimental condition.
The purpose of this study is to track within-person engagement effects over time and across multiple task transitions, and to fine-tune the proposed training intervention by testing its effectiveness at various stages of team task transitions. A sample of approximately 400 participants will be recruited from undergraduate management classes. These teams will be randomly assigned to one of four intervention timing conditions. In this study, all teams will perform a set sequence of tasks. They will perform three short independent tasks, then one interdependent task, then three short independent tasks, then a second interdependent task. The independent and interdependent tasks will be similar in nature and design to those described in Study 1. Teams will complete the same pre-task and post-task surveys described in Study 1, and, as in Study 1, their engagement will be measured at the midpoint of each task.
Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) research will be carried out using a sample of four crewmembers from four missions (16 total participants) over a three-year period. Due to the small number of participants, the unit of observation in the study is the task transition, which occurs when the crews “switch" from interdependent to independent work, and vice versa. Prior to the study, investigators will collect relevant personality characteristics and individual differences (e.g. cognitive ability, participants' learning orientation, performance orientation, achievement striving, openness to experience, and neuroticism). Retrospective data about other personal characteristics of participants (age, gender, and experience), will also be utilized wherever possible. The objective is to integrate the work of this study as seamlessly as possible into the natural workflow of HERA non-astronaut crewmembers. This means investigators would seek to identify independent and interdependent tasks that are performed regularly by all crewmembers and for which performance data is already available to be used as the stimuli for this study. Following task transitions, crewmembers will also be asked to complete a series of short (5-10 minutes) surveys at naturally occurring breaks between tasks to capture relevant performance effectiveness information.
This is experiment is in progress. Results will be available at a later date.