Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Take a step back to think

Take a step back and think — turns out there is scientific backing for that: “…body movements which are connected to negative emotions tend to enhance cognitive ability…”

From Scientific American:

Our Bodies, Our Brains

Recent studies have shown that moving our body in certain ways can improve our ability to think. Christie Nicholson reports

Remember the expression: “Talk to the hand.”?
Since it came from: “Talk to the hand, ‘cause the face don’t give a damn.” I’d say it’s a negative statement.

Well, regardless of the words, the image of a pushed out arm is often connected to something negative.

And an arm beckoning towards oneself is typically connected to something positive.

In fact, body movement can become so strongly connected to the accompanying thoughts that the mere movement itself can elicit associated feelings, according to studies.

A recent experiment published in Psychological Science shows that approaching or moving away from an object can actually affect our thought processes. And body movements which are connected to negative emotions tend to enhance cognitive ability. The authors say that’s probably because adverse situations typically require more cognitive control to deal with potentially bad consequences.

Working with 38 subjects, the scientists confirmed that either a step forward (a typically positive movement) or a step backward (usually negative) significantly changed one’s ability to perform a mental task.

Taking four steps back improved a subject’s accuracy and timing on the task, whereas taking four steps forward led to longer processing times and more errors.

Gives you a new angle on the line: “Take a step back and think for a second.”

—Christie Nicholson

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June 3, 2009 - Posted by | brain, decision making | , ,

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