Intrinsic group behaviour II: On the dependence of triad spatial dynamics on social and personal features; and on the effect of social interaction on small group dynamics

Francesco Zanlungo, Zeynep Yücel, Takayuki Kanda

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In a follow-up to our work on the dependence of walking dyad dynamics on intrinsic properties of the group, we now analyse how these properties affect groups of three people (triads), taking also in consideration the effect of social interaction on the dynamical properties of the group. We show that there is a strong parallel between triads and dyads. Work-oriented groups are faster and walk at a larger distance between them than leisure-oriented ones, while the latter move in a less ordered way. Such differences are present also when colleagues are contrasted with friends and families; nevertheless the similarity between friend and colleague behaviour is greater than the one between family and colleague behaviour. Male triads walk faster than triads including females, males keep a larger distance than females, and same gender groups are more ordered than mixed ones. Groups including tall people walk faster, while those with elderly or children walk at a slower pace. Groups including children move in a less ordered fashion. Results concerning relation and gender are particularly strong, and we investigated whether they hold also when other properties are kept fixed. While this is clearly true for relation, patterns relating gender often resulted to be diminished. For instance, the velocity difference due to gender is reduced if we compare only triads in the colleague relation. The effects on group dynamics due to intrinsic properties are present regardless of social interaction, but socially interacting groups are found to walk in a more ordered way. This has an opposite effect on the space occupied by non-interacting dyads and triads, since loss of structure makes dyads larger, but causes triads to lose their characteristic V formation and walk in a line (i.e., occupying more space in the direction of movement but less space in the orthogonal one).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225704
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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