Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Working Alone May Be The Key To Better Productivity, New Research Suggests

Date:
February 21, 2008
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
Solitary workers may be faster workers, according to research by neuroscientists. Individuals given a specific task are slowed when witnessing someone perform a different task nearby, suggesting that workers may perform better if they are in isolation.

You may not be aware of it - they might not be aware of it, but the people in your work environment might be slowing you down.

New research by University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology researcher Dr. Tim Welsh says that regardless of their intentions, having an individual working on a different task - within your field of vision - could be enough to slow down your performance.

"Imagine a situation like a complex assembly line," said Welsh If you are doing a particular task and the person across from you is doing a different task, you'll be slowed down regardless of their performance."

The reason for this is a built-in response-interpretation mechanism that is hard-wired into our central nervous systems. If we see someone performing a task we automatically imagine ourselves performing that task. This behaviour is part of our mirror neuron system.

His set-up involved an individual performing a simple computer task alone, then with a partner performing a different but related task, and alone again after being told that the partner was going to continue to perform the task in another room.

"When an individual could see their partner actually performing the task, the partner's performance interfered with their own performance, causing them to perform more slowly," Welsh explained. "When the partner left the room and the individual could only see the results of the partner's action - not the action itself - the interference effect was no longer observed and performance improved. We believe it's because the individual no longer represented - or modeled -- their partners' actions, even though they could see the results of these actions."

Welsh says his research could have implications for some industrial work settings.

"In a situation where speed and accuracy in performing a certain task are important, I think an argument could be made for a work setting in which people work in isolation -- or at least with people who doing very similar tasks," he said. "That will remove the involuntary modeling of another's behaviour, potentially improving speed and likely accuracy."

The findings from Welsh's latest work on the topic are founding a paper titled "Seeing vs. believing: Is believing sufficient to activate the processes of response co-representation?" published in the December, 2007 issue of the Journal of Human Movement Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Working Alone May Be The Key To Better Productivity, New Research Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220110323.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2008, February 21). Working Alone May Be The Key To Better Productivity, New Research Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220110323.htm
University of Calgary. "Working Alone May Be The Key To Better Productivity, New Research Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220110323.htm (accessed September 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins