Decades of research provide fundamental knowledge of the roles of emotion and stress in individual human cognition. However, trying to apply this to the team level is not as simple as aggregating individual effects and behaviors. At a team level, new interpersonal issues emerge about emotion and stress that are not addressed at the individual level of analysis. Many research domains and traditions address different aspects of the sociotechnical problems found in stressful technologically complex collaborative environments. Armed with knowledge of these theories, as well as their intersections, overlaps, and even contradictions, a researcher can more effectively address problems facing teams working in complex conditions.


As described in the preceding section, multiple theories exist to explain the effects of various stressors and emotions on attention, problem solving, and decision making in individuals. These have been tested experimentally across a broad range of psychological perspectives: cognitive, behavioral, social, and clinical. However, they are less frequently studied within the context of team activity. Team-level research has additional challenges of experimentally controlling and measuring several independent and interdependent actions leading toward a group outcome. Other complications with emotion and stress include the ethical and technical difficulties in manipulating people’s emotional states or recreating realistic crisis environments to examine team decision making under stress. Research situated in team contexts takes many forms, and often requires the use of qualitative and quantitative methods practiced in multiple disciplines. Hence, it is appropriate to apply the living laboratory framework to address these problems by integrating observational research, interviews with domain experts, controlled experimentation, and development and evaluation of prototype solutions. This section provides a sampling of methodological approaches for studying the effects of emotion and stress on team cognition.

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