Standing enhances cognitive control and alters visual search

Atten Percept Psychophys. 2019 Oct;81(7):2320-2329. doi: 10.3758/s13414-019-01723-6.


Postural changes and the maintenance of postural stability have been shown to affect many aspects of cognition. Here we examined the extent to which selective visual attention may differ between standing and seated postures in three tasks: the Stroop color-word task, a task-switching paradigm, and visual search. We found reduced Stroop interference, a reduction in switch costs, and slower search rates in the visual search task when participants stood compared to when they sat while performing the tasks. The results suggest that the postural demands associated with standing enhance cognitive control, revealing broad connections between body posture and cognitive mechanisms.

Keywords: Attention and executive control; Cognitive and attentional control; Embodied perception.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Stroop Test
  • Visual Perception / physiology*