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Smile! Studying Expressivity of Happiness as a Synergic Factor in Collaborative Information Seeking

Roberto Gonzalez-Ibanez, Chirag Shah and Natalia Cordova-Rubio

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


It is commonly expected that working in collaboration leads to better results than working individually. Though this may depend on various factors such as time, space, the nature of tasks or activities, as well as the personalities of team members; it has been demonstrated by some that teamwork is more than adding the products of the individual parts. To date, little is known about the specific elements that contribute to this synergic effect; however, some have argued that affects, in particular positive ones, may have a fundamental role on teamwork. In this paper we take a closer look to users’ smiles - as a way of happiness expression - by studying how they participate in the information search process of both individuals and teams. We present a user study involving 30 participants (10 pairs and 10 individuals) and show how smiling contributes to the overall experience of team members as well as their performance in an exploratory search task with respect to individual seekers. Our results indicate that smiling is significantly more prominent in participants working synchronously with someone else than those working individually and that smiling may contribute to particular dimensions of information coverage.

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