Date of Award

12-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Garriy Shteynberg

Committee Members

Lowell Gaertner, Michael Olson

Abstract

Shared attention theory postulates that when simultaneously co-attending to a stimulus with a similar other, cognitive prioritization occurs that has both psychological and behavioral impact, with the ultimate goal of generating collective knowledge. A cooperative scenario occurs when a group’s goal is linked such that one person’s success is also another’s. By contrast, a competitive scenario occurs when a group’s goal is linked such that if one person succeeds, the other fails. The purpose of this thesis was to understand the effect of cooperative and competitive settings on shared attention in a performance domain. I hypothesized that cooperation would moderate the effect of shared attention on performance, such that during synchronous coattention, a cooperative scenario (versus a competitive one) would increase and improve shared attention’s influence on performance. This relationship was investigated in a study with 152 undergraduate participants, but the expected relationship was not found. There were no differences between groups in terms of performance on a multiple object tracking task. Subjective experience results are also discussed.

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