Article

Body posture facilitates retrieval of autobiographical memories.

Department of Psychology, Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1270, USA.
Cognition (Impact Factor: 3.63). 02/2007; 102(1):139-49. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2005.12.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We assessed potential facilitation of congruent body posture on access to and retention of autobiographical memories in younger and older adults. Response times were shorter when body positions during prompted retrieval of autobiographical events were similar to the body positions in the original events than when body position was incongruent. Free recall of the autobiographical events two weeks later was also better for congruent-posture than for incongruent-posture memories. The findings were similar for younger and older adults, except for the finding that free recall was more accurate in younger adults than in older adults in the congruent condition. We discuss these findings in the context of theories of embodied cognition.

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Available from: Rolf A Zwaan, Jul 22, 2015
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    • "As predicted by embodiment, several studies found that the body itself influences cognition (Casasanto, 2011; Osiurak et al., 2014). One study found that our body posture influence the retrieval of autobiographical memories in both young and older adults (Dijkstra et al., 2007). This suggests that memories depend on the context of the body as predicted by the embodied cognition theories. "
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    • "Riskind (1984) found that an upright posture vs. a slumped posture boosted either pleasant or unpleasant memories, Foerster and Strack (1996) found that nodding or shaking one's head influenced the memory for positive vs. negative words, and Dijkstra et al. (2007) demonstrated that body position affected the recall of autobiographical memories. They described the memories to be " easier to access if the body position is similar to the one in the original experience " (Dijkstra et al., 2007: 146), that is, state-dependent memory would be specified into a posture congruent memory, facilitating the reconstruction of autobiographical memories. According to Bietti (2013), these findings suggest that the body posture in which the experience was acquired is contained in the multimodal memory trace of the experience stored in the brain, and provides evidence concerning the multidimensional nature of memory traces. "
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    • "Examples are the influence of action plans on the perception of color or form when the action plans provide information for open parameters of that action (e.g., Wykowska et al., 2009) or the impairment of spatial orientation when movement-related idiothetic information about body rotation and translation is absent (e.g., Klatzky et al., 1998, Gramann et al., 2005, Plank et al., 2010, Gramann, 2013), and the demonstration of augmented retrieval of autobiographical memories via assumption of associated body postures (Dijkstra et al., 2007). "
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