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Text signals influence team artifacts

Abstract

This exploratory quasi-experimental investigation describes the influence of text signals on team visual map artifacts. In two course sections, four-member teams were given one of two print-based text passage versions on the course-related topic “Social influence in groups” downloaded from Wikipedia; this text had two paragraphs, each with a prominent heading. Teams in one section (10 teams, 40 participants) were given the version that included the original hyperlinks (HTS) displayed as underlining, while teams in the other section (nine teams, 36 participants) were given an alternate version with the hyperlinks removed but with the same number of important text topics underlined (TTS). Participants worked during class time to create team visual maps of this passage using large sheets of newsprint. Both headings and text topic terms predominated in the TTS team maps, but only hyperlink terms and not headings predominated in the HTS team maps. The team visual map forms, as measured by vector pattern matching and by graph centrality, were also significantly different. Relative to the HTS team maps, on average the TTS team map forms were more complex and more like the expert’s map, while the HTS team map forms were more linear, showing a primacy effect. Further, the HTS team maps were substantially more alike. These results indicate that text signals in these print-based readings strongly influenced team collaboration artifacts.

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Correspondence to Roy B. Clariana.

Appendices

Appendix

The Wikipedia text passage with the hyperlinked terms shown within brackets and the text topic terms shown with underlines.

Social influence in groups

Work relevant to social influence in groups has a long history. Two early examples of social psychological research have been particularly influential. The first of these was by [Muzafer Sherif] in 1935 using the [autokinetic effect]. Sherif asked participants to voice their judgments of light movement in the presence of others and noted that these judgments tended to converge. The second of these was a series of studies by [Solomon Asch], in which naive participants were asked to voice their judgments of the similarity of the length of lines after hearing the “judgments” of several [confederates] (research assistants posing as participants) who purposely voiced the same obviously wrong judgment. On about 1/3 of the cases, participants voiced the obviously wrong judgment. When asked why, many of these participants reported that they had originally made the correct judgment but after hearing the partners, decided the judgments of several others (the partners) should be trusted over theirs. As a consequence of these and other studies, social psychologists have come to distinguish between two types of social influence; informational and [normative] (see [conformity]). Informational influence occurs when group members are persuaded by the content of what they read or hear to accept an opinion; Sherif’s study appears to be an example. Normative influence occurs when group members are persuaded by the knowledge that a majority of group members have a view. Normative influence should not be confused with compliance, which occurs when group members are not persuaded but voice the opinions of the group majority. Although some of the participants in the Asch studies who conformed admitted that they had complied, the ones mentioned above who believed the majority to be correct are best considered to have been persuaded through normative influence.

Group decisions

By the end of the 1950s, studies such as Sherif’s led to the reasonable conclusion that social influence in groups leads group members to converge on the average judgment of the individual members. As a consequence, it was a surprise to many social psychologists when in the early 1960s, evidence appeared that group decisions often became more extreme than the average of the individual prediscussion judgments. This was originally thought to be a tendency for groups to be riskier than their members would be alone (the [risky shift]), but later found to be a tendency for extremity in any direction based on which way the members individually tended to lean before discussion (group polarization). Research has clearly demonstrated that [group polarization] is primarily a product of persuasion not compliance.

From: http://wikipedia.atpedia.com/en/articles/s/m/a/Small-group_communication.html

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Clariana, R.B., Rysavy, M.D. & Taricani, E. Text signals influence team artifacts. Education Tech Research Dev 63, 35–52 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-014-9362-5

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Keywords

  • Collaborative teams
  • Hyperlinks
  • Instructional design
  • Text signals
  • Text topic structure