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Wahn B, Kingstone AF, K├Ânig P (2017) Two trackers are better than one: information about the co-actor's actions and performance scores contribute to the collective benefit in a joint visuospatial task. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:669    
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Abstract
When humans collaborate, they often distribute task demands in order to reach a higher performance compared to performing the same task alone (i.e., a collective benefit). Here, we tested to what extent receiving information about the actions of a co-actor, performance scores, or receiving both types of information impacts the collective benefit in a collaborative multiple object tracking task. In a between-subject design, pairs of individuals jointly tracked a subset of target objects among several moving distractor objects on a computer screen for a 100 trials. At the end of a trial, pairs received performance scores (Experiment 1), information about their partner's target selections (Experiment 2), or both types of information (Experiment 3). In all experiments, the performance of the pair exceeded the individual performances and the simulated performance of two independent individuals combined. Initially, when receiving both types of information (Experiment 3), pairs achieved the highest performance and divided task demands most efficiently compared to the other two experiments. Over time, performances and the ability to divide task demands for pairs receiving a single type of information converged with those receiving both, suggesting that pairs' coordination strategies become equally effective over time across experiments. However, pairs' performances never reached a theoretical limit of performance in all experiments. For distributing task demands, members of a pair predominantly used a left-right division of labor strategy (i.e., the leftmost targets were tracked by one co-actor while the rightmost targets were tracked by the other co-actor). Overall, findings of the present study suggest that receiving information about actions of a co-actor, performance scores, or receiving both enables pairs to devise effective division of labor strategies in a collaborative visuospatial task. However, when pairs had both types of information available, the formation of division of labor strategies was facilitated, indicating that pairs benefited the most from having both types of information available (i.e., actions about the co-actor and performance scores). Findings are applicable to circumstances in which humans need to perform collaborative visuospatial tasks that are time-critical and/or only allow a very limited exchange of information between co-actors