On the relationship between network connectivity and group performance in small teams of humans: experiments in virtual reality

Roni Barak-Ventura, Samuel Richmond, Jalil Hasanyan, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Optimizing group performance is one of the principal objectives that underlie human collaboration and prompts humans to share resources with each other. Connectivity between individuals determines how resources can be accessed and shared by the group members, yet, empirical knowledge on the relationship between the topology of the interconnecting network and group performance is scarce. To improve our understanding of this relationship, we created a game in virtual reality where small teams collaborated toward a shared goal. We conducted a series of experiments on 30 groups of three players, who played three rounds of the game, with different network topologies in each round. We hypothesized that higher network connectivity would enhance group performance due to two main factors: individuals’ ability to share resources and their arousal. We found that group performance was positively associated with the overall network connectivity, although registering a plateau effect that might be associated with topological features at the node level. Deeper analysis of the group dynamics revealed that group performance was modulated by the connectivity of high and low performers in the group. Our findings provide insight into the intricacies of group structures, toward the design of effective human teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025003
JournalJPhys Complexity
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Coordination
  • Human behavior
  • Social network
  • Topology
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems

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