Benefiting from being alike: Interindividual skill differences predict collective benefit in joint object control


When two individuals perform a task together, they combine their individual skills to achieve a joint goal. Previous research has shown that interindividual skill differences predict a group's collective benefit in joint perceptual decision-making. In the present study, we tested whether this relationship also holds for other task domains, using a dynamic object control task in which two participants each controlled either the vertical or horizontal movement direction of an object. Our findings demonstrate that the difference in individuals' skill levels was highly predictive of the dyad's collective benefit. Differences in individuals' subjective ratings of task difficulty reflected skill differences and thus also turned out to be a predictor of collective benefit. Generally, collective benefit was modulated by spatial task demands. Overall, the present study shows that previous findings in joint decision-making can be extended to dynamic motor tasks such as joint object control.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by H2020—H2020- FETPROACT-2014641321—socSMCs (for BW & PK) and by the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° [609819], SOMICS, and by ERC grant agreement n°616072, JAXPERTISE (for LS & GK).