Neural signatures of team coordination are revealed by multifractal analysis

Aaron D. Likens, Polemnia Amazeen, Ron Stevens, Trysha Galloway, Jamie C. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The quality of a team depends on its ability to deliver information through a hierarchy of team members and negotiate processes spanning different time scales. That structure and the behavior that results from it pose problems for researchers because multiply-nested interactions are not easily separated. We explored the behavior of a six-person team engaged in a Submarine Piloting and Navigation (SPAN) task using the tools of dynamical systems. The data were a single entropy time series that showed the distribution of activity across six team members, as recorded by nine-channel electroencephalography (EEG). A single team's data were analyzed for the purposes of illustrating the utility of multifractal analysis and allowing for in-depth exploratory analysis of temporal characteristics. Could the meaningful events experienced by one of these teams be captured using multifractal analysis, a dynamical systems tool that is specifically designed to extract patterns across levels of analysis? Results indicate that nested patterns of team activity can be identified from neural data streams, including both routine and novel events. The novelty of this tool is the ability to identify social patterns from the brain activity of individuals in the social interaction. Implications for application and future directions of this research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-234
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Complex systems
  • EEG
  • Multifractal
  • Team coordination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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