Handbook of Human Computation

pp 791-802


Synchrony in Social Groups and Its Benefits

  • Qi XuanAffiliated withUniversity of CaliforniaZhejiang University of Technology Email author 
  • , Vladimir FilkovAffiliated withUniversity of California

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In recent years, social synchrony has attracted much attention from different research areas including biology, physics, psychology, and engineering. It is widely believed that synchrony, as an outcome of evolutionary selection, can increase the cohesion of social groups and thus lead them to perform better when dealing with complex tasks. This chapter briefly reviews several quantitative aspects of social synchrony, including how to measure and how to model it, the impact on it of the social network structure underlying the group, and its benefits to cooperation and productivity. We provide a case study of social synchrony among software developers in Apache, a distributed Open Source Software (OSS) project. In it, we illustrate how one could quantitatively study aspects of social synchrony. The results suggest that Apache software developers synchronize their work with each other, and work together in larger groups in relatively short periods. Such working synchrony increases productivity, in terms of the number of lines of code produced, and improves the efficiency of coordination among developers, in terms of communication overhead.