Doing words together: assessing joint problem solving in a Scrabble task

Riccardo FusaroliAarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Svend ØstergaardAarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Joanna Raczaszek-LeonardiUniversity of Warsaw (UW)
Johanne BjørndahlAarhus University, Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark
Frederik StjernfeltCopenhagen University
Kristian TylénAarhus University, Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark

Abstract

In this paper we test the effects of social interactions in embodied problem solving by employing a Scrabble-like setting. 28 pairs of participants had to generate as many words as possible from 2 balanced sets of 7 letters, which they could manipulate, either individually or collectively. Collaborating makes pairs significantly more productive (M=68.7 SD=16.7) than the best of the two individuals alone (M=63.3, SD=19): F(1,28)=5.66, p=.024, η2=.17. Two parameters have a significant impact on the efficacy of collaboration: i)Pairs, whose performance is more similar in individual trials, gain higher benefit from collaboration: R(1,27)=-0.51, R2=.26, p=.005. ii)Pairs having the collective condition first perform better: F(1,28)=8.55, p=.007, η2=.23. This points to collaboration catalysing optimal solution strategies which can be used in the successive individual trial.

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