The emergence and impact of synchrony in design teams: A computational study

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nadège Troussier
Author: Perišić, Marija Majda (1); Štorga, Mario (1,2); Gero, John (3)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Croatia; 2: Luleå University of Technology, Sweden; 3: UNC Charlotte, USA
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 3385-3394
DOI number:


Studies revealed that, while collaborating, humans tend to synchronise on multiple levels (e.g., neurocognitive or physiological). Inter-brain synchrony has been linked to improved problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity. Nevertheless, studies on synchrony in design teams started to emerge only recently. This study contributes to this stream of research by utilising a computational model of a design team to explore the relationships between team cohesion, synchrony, and team performance. The experiments revealed a positive link between team cohesion level and the emergence of (cognitive) synchrony. Furthermore, cohesive teams were found to be more efficient, converging quicker and producing solutions at a higher rate. In addition, the diversity of the solutions generated by highly cohesive teams tends to increase over time. Teams in medium- and low-cohesive settings initially generate highly diverse solutions, but such diversity decreases as the simulation progresses. Finally, highly-cohesive teams were found to be prone to premature convergence.

Keywords: Teamwork, Simulation, Design cognition, Synchrony

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