Published:  2013-03-01

Predicting Team Performance in a Dynamic Environment: A Team Psychophysiological Approach to Measuring Cognitive Readiness

Authors:  Alexander D. Walker, Eric R. Muth, Fred S. Switzer, Patrick J. Rosopa


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Teams that operate in complex and dynamic environments must maintain a certain level of cognitive readiness among team members to ensure high levels of performance in response to potentially uncertain and time sensitive situations. In the current study, the authors sought to identify a physiological measure that could help predict team performance during a complex and dynamic task. Specifically, they examined whether measuring team members? autonomic nervous system activity could predict subsequent performance on a dynamic process control task. Thirty-four teams of two (35 males, 33 females) completed a processing plant simulation during four varying levels of individual and team difficulty. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity was measured throughout the task with an electrocardiogram and an impedance cardiogram and was combined to create a measure of team autonomic activity. Regression analyses showed that team autonomic activity accounted for 10% of the variance in team performance scores. In conclusion, the current study showed that team performance can be predicted from team autonomic activity, which supports the argument that a team?s physiological state could serve as an indicator of cognitive readiness.