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Using violations of Fitts' law to communicate during joint action

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

When people perform joint actions together, task knowledge is sometimes distributed asymmetrically such that one person has information that another person lacks. In such situations, interpersonal action coordination can be achieved if the knowledgeable person modulates basic parameters of her goal-directed actions in a way that provides relevant infor-mation to the less knowledgeable partner. We investigated whether systematic violations of predicted movement duration provide a sufficient basis for such communication. Results of a joint movement task show that knowledgeable partners spontaneously and systematically violated the pre-dictions of Fitts’ law in order to communicate if their partners could not see their movements. Unknowing partners had a benefit from these violations and more so if the violations provided a good signal-to-noise ratio. Together, our findings suggest that generating and perceiving systematic deviations from the predicted duration of a goal-directed action can enable non-conventionalized forms of communication during joint action.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Publication year2016
Pages2219-2224
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Joint Action, Signaling, Coordination Strategy, Cooperation, Communication, Social Cognition

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ID: 118797302