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Dynamical analysis in real time: detecting perturbations to team communication

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Dynamical systems methods characterise patterns of change over time. Typically, such methods are applied only after data collection is complete. However, brief disturbances – perturbations – can occur as a process unfolds and can result in undesirable outcomes if not acted on. The application of dynamics in real time would be useful for detecting these sudden changes. Real-time analysis was accomplished by updating dynamical estimates simultaneously across different window sizes. We calculated the largest Lyapunov exponent, a measure of dynamical stability, to detect a perturbation to team communication in a simulated uninhabited air vehicle (UAV) reconnaissance mission. The perturbation consisted of information demands from a confederate that occurred unexpectedly during performance of a UAV mission. We demonstrate the use of real-time methods in detecting that perturbation as it occurred. In application, this technique would have enabled real-time intervention. Extensions of the real-time dynamical method to other domains of psychological inquiry are discussed.

Practitioner Summary: A real-time dynamical analysis method that was developed to detect unexpected perturbations in team communication is described. The use of the method is demonstrated on perturbed communication from a three-person uninhabited air vehicle command-and-control team. The generalisability of the method is considered with respect to physiological and motor coordination dynamics.
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Keywords: Lyapunov exponent; dynamical systems; perturbation; real-time analysis; team communication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology,Texas Tech University, Lubbock,TX 2: Department of Psychology,University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth,MN 3: Department of Psychology,Arizona State University, Tempe,AZ 4: Department of Cognitive Science and Engineering,Arizona State University, Mesa,AZ 5: Sandia Research Corporation, Mesa,AZ

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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