Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 21, Iss. 2, April, 2017, pp. 189-215
@2017 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences

 
 
 

Cooperative Learning and Interpersonal Synchrony

Roy Vink, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Maarten L. Wijnants, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Antonius H. N. Cillessen, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Anna M. T. Bosman, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Abstract: Cooperative learning has been shown to result in better task performance, compared to individual and competitive learning, and can lead to positive social effects. However, potential working mechanisms at a micro level remain unexplored. One potential working mechanism might be the level of interpersonal synchrony between cooperating individuals. It has been shown that increased levels of interpersonal synchrony are related to better cognitive performance (e.g., increased memory). Social factors also appear to be affected by the level of interpersonal synchrony, with more interpersonal synchrony leading to increased likeability. In the present study, interpersonal synchrony of postural sway and its relation to task performance and social factors (i.e., popularity, social acceptance, and likeability) was examined. To test this, 183 dyads performed a tangram task while each child stood on a Nintendo Wii Balance Board that recorded their postural sway. The results showed that lower levels of interpersonal synchrony were related to better task performance and those dyads who were on average more popular synchronized more. These results contradict previous findings. It is suggested that for task performance, a more loosely coupled system is better than a synchronized system. In terms of social competence, dyad popularity was associated with more interpersonal synchrony.

Keywords: cooperative learning, interpersonal synchrony, postural sway, popularity, task performance