Collaboration During Visual Search
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Three experiments examine how collaboration influences visual search performance. Working with a partner or on their own, participants reported whether a target was present or absent in briefly presented search displays. The search performance of individuals working together (collaborative pairs) was compared to the pooled responses of the individuals working alone (nominal pairs). Collaborative pairs were less likely than nominal pairs to correctly detect a target and they were less likely to make false alarms. Signal detection analyses revealed that collaborative pairs were more sensitive to the presence of the target and had a more conservative response bias than the nominal pairs. This pattern was observed when the search difficulty was increased and when the presence of another individual was matched across pairs. The results are discussed in the context of task sharing, social loafing and current theories of visual search.