Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 9, Iss. 2, April, 2005, pp. 175-207
@2005 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Origins of Group Coordination: Nonlinear Dynamics and the Role of Verbalization

Stephen J. Guastello, Marquette University
Benjamin R. Bock, Marquette University
Philip Caldwell, Marquette University
Robert W. Bond, Jr., Marquette University

Abstract: Coordination occurs when two or more people do the same or complimentary tasks simultaneously; its explanation game theory, nonlinear dynamics, and implicit learning theory. In the experiment, 12 four-person groups were allowed to discuss the coordination (card game) task while performing it; 12 other groups worked nonverbally. One to three group members were replaced during the game. Split-plot ANOVA showed that verbalizing groups performed better than nonverbalizing groups overall and showed more acute coordination learning curves, but verbalization did not compensate for the replacement of personnel. Groups that changed one or two players showed positive coordination transfer, but groups that changed three players did not. Nonlinear regression for temporal dynamics within verbalizing and nonverbalizing groups showed asymptotic stability for initial coordination learning and transfer to a difficult rule, a chaotic function when replacements were introduced, and asymptotic stability again when the team with replacements switched to the difficult rule.

Keywords: coordination, synchronization, chaos, self-organization, work team, game theory, implicit learning