Is the outcome of remote group work using text based CMC suboptimal? A psychobiological perspective

Robinson, Kathy; Wehner, Tim and Millward, Helen (2019). Is the outcome of remote group work using text based CMC suboptimal? A psychobiological perspective. Computers & Education, 134 pp. 108–118.



A methodology for a trans-disciplinary approach between Education and a social, cognitive, affective neuroscience (SCAN) is presented that has the potential to enhance out understanding of the underlying processes of a social constructivist pedagogy. Increasingly group work is undertaken at distance and online by using text-based computer mediated conferencing. It is claimed that the socio-emotional climate is compromised in these contexts, that others are experienced as less real, and that a sub-optimal outcome of group work is more likely. This report has applied two methods the electroencephalogram (EEG) and the electromyogram (EMG), of a social, cognitive, affective neuroscience to investigate affect and social-cognition when group work is undertaken remotely and asynchronously using text-based CMC. The findings show that the valence of a group's socio-emotional climate can be indexed at a neural level and that there is neural evidence of socio-cognitive processing. At a psychobiological level of explanation there is no evidence to suggest that group work will be sub optimal when interpersonal interaction takes place remotely and asynchronously through using text based CMC. That discourse is the important component of human social interaction is highlighted by this research and the implications for educational technology as practiced, and SCAN as epistemologically constructed, are discussed.

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