Sitting upright may help people sit exams: study

Xinhua
A study by researchers at San Francisco State University found a simple change in posture may improve your performance at math test.
Xinhua

A study by researchers at San Francisco State University found a simple change in posture may improve your performance at math test.

In the study published in this week's NeuroRegulation journal, 125 college students were tested to see how well they could perform simple math, subtracting 7 from 843 sequentially for 15 seconds, while either slumped over or sitting up straight with shoulders back and relaxed.

Fifty-six percent of the students reported finding it easier to perform the math in the upright position, according to the study.

"For people who are anxious about math, posture makes a giant difference," said the paper's first author, Erik Peper, professor of health education with the university.

"The slumped-over position shuts them down and their brains do not work as well. They cannot think as clearly," said Peper.

According to the study, slumping over is a defensive posture that can trigger old negative memories in the body and brain.

While the students who reported no math anxiety before the test did not report as great a benefit from better posture, they did find that doing math while slumped over was somewhat more difficult.

Peper said that those findings could help people prepare for many different types of performance under stress, not just math tests.

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