Dynamical analysis in real time: Detecting perturbations to team communication

Jamie C. Gorman, Eric E. Hessler, Polemnia G. Amazeen, Nancy J. Cooke, Steven M. Shope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Dynamical systems methods characterise patterns of change over time. Typically, such methods are applied only after data collection is complete. However, brief disturbances - perturbations - can occur as a process unfolds and can result in undesirable outcomes if not acted on. The application of dynamics in real time would be useful for detecting these sudden changes. Real-time analysis was accomplished by updating dynamical estimates simultaneously across different window sizes. We calculated the largest Lyapunov exponent, a measure of dynamical stability, to detect a perturbation to team communication in a simulated uninhabited air vehicle (UAV) reconnaissance mission. The perturbation consisted of information demands from a confederate that occurred unexpectedly during performance of a UAV mission. We demonstrate the use of real-time methods in detecting that perturbation as it occurred. In application, this technique would have enabled real-time intervention. Extensions of the real-time dynamical method to other domains of psychological inquiry are discussed.Practitioner Summary: A real-time dynamical analysis method that was developed to detect unexpected perturbations in team communication is described. The use of the method is demonstrated on perturbed communication from a three-person uninhabited air vehicle command-and-control team. The generalisability of the method is considered with respect to physiological and motor coordination dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-839
Number of pages15
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Lyapunov exponent
  • dynamical systems
  • perturbation
  • real-time analysis
  • team communication


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