What’s in a Friendship? Partner Visibility Supports Cognitive Collaboration between Friends

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Brennan AA, Enns JT (2015) What’s in a Friendship? Partner Visibility Supports Cognitive Collaboration between Friends. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0143469. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143469

Date created: 
2015
Keywords: 
Verbal communication
Team behavior
Social communication
Vision
Cognition
Cognitive psychology
Covariance
Social research
Abstract: 

Not all cognitive collaborations are equally effective. We tested whether friendship and communication influenced collaborative efficiency by randomly assigning participants to complete a cognitive task with a friend or non-friend, while visible to their partner or separated by a partition. Collaborative efficiency was indexed by comparing each pair’s performance to an optimal individual performance model of the same two people. The outcome was a strong interaction between friendship and partner visibility. Friends collaborated more efficiently than non-friends when visible to one another, but a partition that prevented pair members from seeing one another reduced the collaborative efficiency of friends and non-friends to a similar lower level. Secondary measures suggested that verbal communication differences, but not psychophysiological arousal, contributed to these effects. Analysis of covariance indicated that females contributed more than males to overall levels of collaboration, but that the interaction of friendship and visibility was independent of that effect. These findings highlight the critical role of partner visibility in the collaborative success of friends.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
File(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
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