Shared mental models and intra-team psychophysiological patterns: a test of the juggling paradigm

Edson Filho, Davide Pierini, Claudio Robazza, Gershon Tenenbaum, Maurizio Bertollo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We explored implicit coordination mechanisms underlying the conceptual notion of “shared mental models” (SMM) through physiological (i.e., breathing and heart rates) and affective-cognitive (i.e., arousal, pleasantness, attention, self-efficacy, other’s efficacy) monitoring of two professional jugglers performing a real-time interactive task of increasing difficulty. There were two experimental conditions: “individual” (i.e., solo task) and “interactive” (i.e., two jugglers established a cooperative interaction by juggling sets of balls with each other). In both conditions, there were two task difficulties: “easy” and “hard.” Descriptive analyses revealed that engaging in a dyadic cooperative motor task (interactive condition) required greater physiological effort (Median Cohen’s d = 2.13) than performing a solo motor task (individual condition) of similar difficulty. Our results indicated a strong positive correlation between the jugglers’ heart rate for the easy (r =.87) and hard tasks (r =.77). The relationship between the jugglers’ breathing rate was significant for the easy task (r =.73) but non-significant for the hard task. The findings are interpreted based on research on SMM and Theory of Mind. Practitioners should advance the notion of “shared-regulation” in the context of team coordination through the use of biofeedback training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 17 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Shared mental models
  • group dynamics
  • juggling
  • psychophysiology
  • team coordination


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