Does the social context change how we interact with one another in joint activity?
Balfour 2011 MA.docx (377.8Kb)
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The interdependency of action and perception has illustrated how shared representations between co-actors facilitate successful joint activity. Recent studies in action based experiments have explored the extent to which shared representations are formed in cooperative and competitive social contexts. We explore whether these social contexts also have a different effect on shared representations in a more integrated form of joint action, that of dialogue. Participants were recruited in same sex groups of 4 and were randomly assigned to 2 teams of 2: Team A and Team B. They consecutively carried out a shared Stroop task in two differing social conditions, once cooperatively and once competitively. For the cooperative condition, each team of 2 were required to work together to collaboratively beat the response times of the other team. For the competitive condition, a member from each opposing team carried out the shared Stroop task together in competition to try and beat each other’s response times. The order of these conditions was alternated between different groups of 4. In this way the results revealed that between the social contexts there was a significant difference of congruency effect, but only when the cooperative context preceded the competitive context and not when the conditions were carried out in the opposite sequence. Furthermore, participants responded slower to stimuli in the first part of the experiment compared to the second part, irrelevant of contextual manipulation. Limitations of the study are discussed in explanation of these results. Implications suggest that when the social context elicits conflicting goals with alignment, shared representations occur to a lesser extent, even in this more integrated form of joint action, dialogue. To understand the underlying mechanisms in joint action, future research needs to take into account the social context in which joint action is embedded.