Collaborating in spatial tasks: How partners coordinate their spatial memories and descriptions
Avraamides, Marios N.
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We summarize findings from a study examining whether the availability of the conversational partner's spatial viewpoint influences the speaker's spatial memories, description strategies, their joint efficiency and accuracy on the task, as well as the partner's resulting spatial memories. In 18 pairs, Directors described to a misaligned Matcher arrays that they learned while either knowing their Matcher's viewpoint or not. Memory tests preceding descriptions revealed that Directors represented their Matcher's viewpoint when known in advance. Moreover, Directors adapted the perspective of their descriptions according to each other's cognitive demands, given their misalignment. The number of conversational turns pairs took to coordinate suggested that pairs' strategies were effective at minimizing their collective effort. Nonetheless, in terms of accuracy on the task, pairs reconstructed more distorted arrays the more partner-centered descriptions Directors used. The Directors' descriptions also predicted Matchers' facilitation for their own perspective in memory tests following the description. Together, these findings demonstrate that partners in collaborative spatial tasks adapt their respective memory representations and descriptions contingently with the aim of optimizing coordination. © 2013 Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.