Date of Completion


Embargo Period



R. James Holzworth, Felicia Pratto

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


The current study tested whether introduction of audio transmission delays during skill acquisition would benefit the performance effectiveness of distributed teams in a novel transfer context. Two-person university student teams (N=40) performed a simulated firefighting task in 4 practice trials and a novel transfer condition. Intra-team communications were systematically perturbed with closed-loop transmission delays ranging from 2 to 6 seconds. On average, teams were able to improve performance over time despite transmission delay, with significant differences in performance observed between certain groups both over the course and at the end of the experiment: Short (2s blocked) practice delay was associated with low relative performance during practice and in the presence of a novel (4s) transfer delay, whereas longer (4s, 6s) practice delays were associated with improved performance in both practice and transfer, regardless of presentation schedule (blocked versus random). The introduction of relatively long or random communication delays accelerated team skill acquisition and benefited transfer performance. Team composition (i.e., cognitive ability) failed to moderate the observed practice-performance relationships. Study findings can be used to design more effective training systems for distributed teams that must adapt to transmission delays known to perturb feedback control and impair team performance.

Major Advisor

Robert A. Henning