||The development of a team measure of autonomic activity has a wide variety of
applications. During team training, an index of team autonomic activity could potentially
have added value for real-time feedback, team selection and performance evaluation.
The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the relation between autonomic
activity measures, workload, and performance, on both an individual and team level.
Specifically, this study sought to determine whether changes in workload could be
detected in measures of autonomic activity and whether changes in the autonomic
measures related to changes in performance. 34 teams of two (35 males, 33 females)
completed a processing plant simulation during 4 varying levels of individual and team
difficulty. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity was measured
throughout the task using an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an impedance cardiogram
(ICG), in addition to the NASA-TLX. SNS and PNS measures were combined to
produce a team autonomic activity measure that was used to predict team workload and
performance. Results showed that workload and performance varied across the task
difficulty levels with higher difficulty producing higher workload and worse
performance. Regressions conducted predicting team performance from team autonomic
activity showed that team autonomic activity accounted for 10% of the variance in team
performance scores. Further exploratory analyses showed interesting relations between
autonomic activity and performance when examining the task difficulty levels separately.
These analyses discovered that during the mixed individual difficulty levels, one team
member's physiology was consistently correlated with the other team member's
performance. In conclusion, the current study showed that team performance can be
predicted from team autonomic activity, and that individual team member physiology has
the potential to provide an index of team related behaviors (e.g. mutual performance
monitoring and back-up behaviors).