People often find themselves in situations where collaboration with others is necessary to accomplish a particular task. In such cases, a leader–follower relationship is established to coordinate a plan to achieve a common goal. This is usually accomplished through verbal communication. However, what happens when verbal communication is not possible? In this study, we observe the dynamics of a leader–follower relationship in human dyads during collaborative tasks where there is no verbal communication between partners. Using two robotic arms, we designed a collaborative experimental task in which subjects perform the task individually or coupled together through a virtual model. The results show that human partners fall into the leader–follower dynamics even when they cannot communicate verbally. We demonstrate this in two steps. First, we study how each subject in a collaboration influences task performance, and second, we evaluate whether both partners influence it equally or not using our proposed sorting method to objectively identify a leader. We also study the leader–follower dynamics by analysing the task performance of partners during their individual sessions to predict the role distribution in a dyad. Based on the results of our prediction method, we conclude that the higher-performing individual performance will assume the role of a leader in collaboration.
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