Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 81, Issue 7, pp 2320–2329 | Cite as

Standing enhances cognitive control and alters visual search

  • Kendra C. SmithEmail author
  • Christopher C. Davoli
  • William H. KnappIII
  • Richard A. Abrams
Time for Action: Reaching for a Better Understanding of the Dynamics of Cognition


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.


Cognitive and attentional control Embodied perception Attention and executive control 


Open practices statement

The data from all the experiments are available at: under the “Resources” tab.


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCentral Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA

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