Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Exploring the effect of spatial faithfulness on group decision-making

David Adeboye

October 2020, 64 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted 2020 by the author for the degree of Master of Philosophy (Advanced Computer Science) to the University of Cambridge, Jesus College.


Remote working is becoming increasingly popular and many large organisations are asking their employees to work from home. However, several studies have shown that groups who make decisions over videoconferencing take longer to complete tasks, are less effective and are less satisfied with the result. The ability for a communication medium to convey information, cues or symbols to its users has been theorised to influence team/communication performance. Videoconferencing fails to communicate these non-verbal behaviours, which provide complementary information to speech. For example, the inability to use gaze to help indicate the next speaker means that conversations over videoconferencing typically contain more explicit handovers such as names.

This thesis presents Spatial, a new spatially faithful videoconferencing application that captures the aspects of face-to-face conversations that are not available on standard systems. Unlike previous work, which requires specialised equipment or setups, Spatial focuses on work-from-home environments. Spatial aims to replicate the spatial characteristics of face-to-face conversations, using commodity hardware. It builds environments that ensure that both visual and auditory communication can be transmitted directionally and as wholly as possible. Using Spatial they can calibrate their working environments to ensure that their experience is free from perspective distortions.

We show that under Spatial, groups replicate conversation characteristics of face-to-face interactions. They completed a cooperative decision-making task in a shorter amount of time, took less time for turns and interrupted each other less.

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BibTeX record

  author =	 {Adeboye, David},
  title = 	 {{Exploring the effect of spatial faithfulness on group
  year = 	 2020,
  month = 	 oct,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-952}