What are you talking about?: A Cognitive Task Analysis of how specificity in communication facilitates shared perspective in a confusing collaboration task

AbstractThis study investigated how participant's specificity in sharing of information in collaborative problem solving was critical to them reaching a successful shared perspective. We analyzed participants' communication strategies in a collaborative task designed to make finding common ground challenging. We set out to better understand the difference between successful and unsuccessful collaborations by conducting a cognitive task analysis. From participants' utterances, we inferred cognitive processes associated with repeating communication moves and coded those processes as if-then production rules. We thereby specified the communication strategies used during interactions and developed a production-rule model to explain whether and how shared perspective developed or not. Our cognitive task analysis indicated that although all collaborating pairs described the objects they were seeing with a variety of features, the successful pairs were more specific in using combinations of features. Quantitatively, we found significant correlations between frequency of combined feature statements and success in sharing perspectives.

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