Stanford University

Automatically Detected Nonverbal Behavior Predicts Creativity in Collaborating Dyads

Won, A.S., Bailenson, J.N., Stathatos, S.C., Dai, W. (2014). Automatically Detected Nonverbal Behavior Predicts Creativity in Collaborating Dyads, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 38 (3), 389-408.

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In the current study we administered a creative task in which two people collaboratively generated novel strategies to conserve resources. During this task, the nonverbal behavior of 104 participants in 52 pairs was tracked and recorded using the Kinect computer vision algorithm. We created a measure of synchrony by correlating movements between the two dyad members, and showed that synchrony occurred—that is, correlations decreased when we increased delay between the recorded movements of pair members. We also demonstrated a link between nonverbal synchrony and creativity, as operationalized by the number of new, valid ideas produced. Linear correlations demonstrated a significant relationship between synchrony and creativity. Finally, models using synchrony scores as input predicted whether dyads were high or low in creativity with a success rate as high as 86.7 % in the more exclusive subsets. We discuss implications for methodological approaches to measuring nonverbal behavior and synchrony, and suggest practical applications which can leverage the current findings.

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