Rosenbaum and his colleagues evaluated how our mental performance is influenced by whether we are standing or sitting – their findings have added importance as people are being urged to spend more time standing and changing positions. The team found that people standing have more cognitive control and that their selective attention systems function more effectively than people who are sitting. Selective attention is our ability to react to stimuli of particular concern to us when we’re experiencing several different stimuli simultaneously. In more technical terms: “we examined . . . the effect of standing as opposed to sitting on the selectivity of attention. To gauge the selectivity of attention, we used psychology’s classic tool, the Stroop effect: the larger the Stroop effect, the greater the failure of selective attention to the target attribute. . . . The most revealing feature of the data was the decrease in the Stroop effect when participants were standing.”
David Rosenbaum, Yaniv Mama, and Daniel Algom. “Stand By Your Stroop: Standing Up Enhances Selective Attention and Cognitive Control.” Psychological Science, in press.