Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 643–666 | Cite as

Improving Group Attention: An Experiment with Synchronous Brainstorming

  • Antonio Ferreira
  • Pedro Antunes
  • Valeria Herskovic


In this paper we address the problem of information overload in synchronous group work: the large quantity of information, multiple information sources, and the need to sustain reciprocal interdependence have a negative impact on the capacity to attend to the group. We propose a group attention model characterizing the dynamic coupling between the group members and the mediating technology. Based on that model, we developed a compensation mechanism capable to estimate the most adequate time to raise the users’ attention to the group. We describe how this compensation mechanism was applied to synchronous brainstorming and present results from a laboratory experiment. The obtained results indicate that groups using the compensation mechanism produced 9.6% more ideas when compared to the control groups. A detailed post-hoc analysis of the data obtained in the experiment also indicates that users using the compensation mechanism had 7.5 s of extra uninterrupted time to think about and type an idea, which they began to write 6.4 s sooner, and completed in 4.2 s less time.


Information overload Group attention model Asynchronous brainstorming Attentive user interfaces 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Ferreira
    • 1
  • Pedro Antunes
    • 1
  • Valeria Herskovic
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Universidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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