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Stand by Your Stroop: Standing Up Enhances Selective Attention and Cognitive Control


Psychological Science
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DOI: 10.1177/0956797617721270
Short Report
It is rarely recognized that people are dual taskers all
the time. They must simultaneously control body pos-
ture and whatever cognitive task they are engaged in
at the moment. Even a common position like standing
engages complex attentional and physiological mecha-
nisms (more than the usual default sitting position does;
e.g., Kerr, Condon, & McDonald, 1985; Lajoie, Teasdale,
Bard, & Fleury, 1993; for a review, see Samuel, Solomon,
& Mohan, 2015; Woollacott & Shumway-Cook, 2002).
The posture-attention bond has been investigated
mainly with the goal of determining the effect of atten-
tion and cognition on the maintenance of posture. In
this study, we examined the reverse causal link: the
effect of standing as opposed to sitting on the selectiv-
ity of attention. To gauge the selectivity of attention,
we used psychology’s classic tool, the Stroop effect: the
larger the Stroop effect, the greater the failure of selec-
tive attention to the target attribute.
During standing, multiple muscles must be tonically
active because the line of gravity falls slightly in front of
the knees and ankles, so that “no one stands absolutely
still” (Samuel etal., 2015, p. 72). Attention must be con-
tinuously engaged to maintain this posture because there
is no such thing as quiet standing. Given that “stance
postural control [is] attentionally demanding” (Woollacott
& Shumway-Cook, 2002, p. 2), how do the extra atten-
tional demands affect performance in a concurrent cog-
nitive task? The scant literature on this question (mainly
in the domains of gerontology and physiology, usually
with a pragmatic purpose) presents conflicting results:
Some studies show that standing impairs performance
(e.g., Kerr etal., 1985), whereas other researchers report
that standing improves performance (e.g., Hazamy etal.,
2017). Mainstream cognitive research can provide a clue
given the possibility that the continuous maintenance of
the standing posture imposes a potentially stressful load
on the organism. Now it has been shown that the selec-
tivity of attention improves under stress (e.g., Chajut &
Algom, 2003) and load (e.g., Lavie, Hirst, De Fockert, &
Viding, 2004); recent studies show that stress and load
share the same physiological and attentional mechanism
(e.g., Sato, Takenaka, & Kawahara, 2012; Tiferet-Dweck
etal., 2016).
One must be circumspect, though, when considering
the effect of standing-induced stress on selective atten-
tion: In general, if a secondary task (e.g., maintenance
of posture) is made more difficult, it decreases perfor-
mance on a cognitively demanding primary task. Stress
indeed impairs performance in tasks of divided atten-
tion, integration of information, or decision making
(e.g., Keinan, 1987). However, selective attention is a
notable exception: It has been repeatedly shown that
stress or load (or both) actually improves the selectivity
of attention.
In a study that addresses this issue, Koch, Holland,
Hengstler, and van Knippenberg (2009) had participants
perform a Stroop task after stepping backward or for-
ward (with a constant distance separating participants
from the stimuli). The Stroop effect was smaller after
they stepped backward, probably because of the stress
or extra vigilance fostered when walking backward.
This stress was conducive to enhanced selectivity of
attention, as expressed in a smaller Stroop effect. Given
the results obtained by Koch etal. and the likelihood
that standing, as opposed to sitting, entails extra atten-
tional load and stress, we expected that standing would
be conducive to a smaller Stroop effect.
721270PSSXXX10.1177/0956797617721270Rosenbaum et al.Standing, Sitting, and Stroop Performance
Corresponding Author:
Yaniv Mama, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Psychology,
Ariel University, Ariel 40700, Israel
Stand by Your Stroop: Standing
Up Enhances Selective Attention
and Cognitive Control
David Rosenbaum1, Yaniv Mama2, and Daniel Algom1
1School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University, and 2Department of Behavioral Sciences
and Psychology, Ariel University
Received 9/22/16; Revision accepted 6/27/17
2 Rosenbaum et al.
All participants in all three studies had normal or
corrected-to-normal vision, and none reported color
Experiment 1
Participants were Tel Aviv University undergraduate
students (N = 17; mean age = 23 years, age range =
19–27 years). This number of participants provided .61
power to find a medium-size effect. The stimuli were
the color words “RED,” “GREEN,” “BLUE,” and “BROWN”
combined factorially with the corresponding print col-
ors. The stimuli were generated in Microsoft Word (in
24-point Miriam, a Hebrew typeface) on a PC and dis-
played on a light gray background on a 14-in. color
monitor (resolution = 800 × 600 pixels). Viewed from
a distance of approximately 60 cm, single words sub-
tended 0.57° of visual angle in height and between
1.33° and 5.16° of visual angle in width. This constant
distance was preserved across standing and sitting. Dur-
ing both conditions—sitting and standing—the partici-
pants were presented with 72 color-word Stroop stimuli,
half of which were congruent and half of which were
incongruent. The order of testing between sitting and
standing was counterbalanced in a random fashion
across participants. The participants responded by
speaking the name of the print color in which the
words appeared into a microphone (HPX-8 headset;
Teac, Tokyo, Japan).
Experiment 2
Participants were Tel Aviv University undergraduate
students (N = 16; mean age = 24.2 years, age range =
19–26). In this experiment, the stimuli were arrows
pointing upward or downward, each placed in the top
position (3 cm above the fixation point at the center of
a 12- × 8-cm rectangle) or in the bottom position (3 cm
below the fixation point at the center of an identically
sized rectangle). The task consisted of deciding the
direction of the arrow while ignoring spatial position.
There were 32 trials, half of which were congruent (e.g.,
an upward pointing arrow in the top position) and half
of which were incongruent. The participants responded
by pressing one of a pair of lateralized keys on a com-
puter keyboard; the response to which the keys were
mapped was counterbalanced across participants.
Experiment 3
Participants were Ariel University undergraduate stu-
dents (N = 50; mean age = 26.1 years, age range = 19–32
years). The stimuli and design were the same as in
Experiment 1. Special care was taken to remove all
demand characteristics (in particular, all the experi-
menters were blind to the hypothesis). Increasing the
number of participants to 50 provided a power of .92
to detect a medium-sized effect. This is very high
power, which means that there was a very high prob-
ability of detecting any existing effect. The analysis was
based on correct responses only (98% in Experiment
1, 97.2% in Experiment 2, and 97.5% in Experiment 3);
we also removed responses deviating from each par-
ticipant’s mean response time (RT) by more than 2.5
SD (3.8%).
Order (standing, sitting) was tested in each experiment
but was not significant and did not interact with posture
and congruity in each analysis of variance (ANOVA; Fs <
1 in all cases). In Experiments 1 and 2, we recorded
significant Stroop effects in both the standing and sit-
ting conditions. The mean RTs for color naming in the
sitting condition of Experiment 1 were 785 ms (95%
confidence interval, CI = [740.08, 829.92]) when the
stimuli were congruent and 892 ms (95% CI = [852.45,
931.55]) when the stimuli were incongruent, t(16) =
8.689, p < .01, Cohen’s d = 2.147. The mean RTs for
color naming in the standing condition of Experiment
1 were 785 ms (95% CI = [743.94, 826.06]) when the
stimuli were congruent, and 861 ms (95% CI = [832.23,
889.77]) when the stimuli were incongruent, t(16) =
6.687, p < .01, d = 1.857. In the case of judgments of
arrow direction, the mean RTs in the sitting condition
of Experiment 2 were 523 ms (95% CI = [472.52, 573.48])
when the stimuli were congruent and 625 ms (95% CI =
[567.91, 682.09]) when the stimuli were incongruent,
t(15) = 2.728, p < .01, d = 0.683. The mean RTs for arrow-
direction judgment in the standing condition of Experi-
ment 2 were 572 ms (95% CI = [523.46, 620.54]) when
the stimuli were congruent and 603 ms (95% CI = [565.69,
640.31]) when the stimuli were incongruent, t(15) =
2.207, p < .05, d = 0.59.
The most revealing feature of the data was the
decrease in the Stroop effect when participants were
standing. For color naming, the difference of 32 ms
favoring standing was confirmed by the interaction of
posture and congruity, F(1, 16) = 5.701, p = .03, ηp2 =
.263. For arrow direction, the difference of 71.54 ms
favoring standing was confirmed by the interaction of
posture and congruity, F(1, 15) = 4.062, p = .062, ηp2 =
The results for Experiment 3 are presented in Figure
1. Overall, the responses were faster when participants
were standing than when they were sitting, F(1, 49) = 7.33,
Standing, Sitting, and Stroop Performance 3
p < .01, ηp2 = .130. The Stroop effects in both the sitting
condition, M = 118.9 ms, t(49) = 16.52, p < .01, d = 2.376,
and the standing condition, M = 95.9 ms, t(49) = 14.327,
p < .01, d = 2.034, were highly reliable, but the most sig-
nificant finding again was the shrinkage of the effect when
participants were standing, F(1, 49) = 8.964, p = .004,
ηp2 = .155. Of the 50 participants, 35 exhibited this pattern
(p < .01), supporting the enhancement of selectivity while
standing (see the Supplemental Material available online).
Stroop effects tend to be larger when participants
take longer to respond overall (Shalev & Algom, 2000).
Does the smaller effect recorded for the standing condi-
tion derive from the faster overall responding in this
condition? To examine this possibility, we calculated
the correlation across observers between mean RT and
size of the Stroop effect and found an insignificant cor-
relation of .15. For another test, we matched the RTs
across sitting and standing by scaling each observer’s
data to equal the overall mean across sitting and
standing. We then subjected the rescaled data to an
ANOVA with the same design as the one used on the
original data and still found a significant interaction of
posture and congruity, F(1, 49) = 6.693, p = .013,
ηp2 = .120; the Stroop effect was smaller when partici-
pants were standing. This analysis also ruled out abso-
lute RT as the factor generating the difference in
selectivity between the standing conditions and the
sitting conditions.
The vast majority of studies in current experimental
psychology are done with the participant in a sitting
position (typically facing a computer monitor). In the
current study, we showed that body posture affects
cognition and attention. Given that the distinction
between standing and sitting posture is an endogenous
dichotomy, unlike such exogenous dichotomies as
warm-cold or morning-evening, our findings should
generalize across gender, race, or culture. After all, the
present findings are contingent on human physiology.
Nonetheless, our study is still based on samples of
young university students, a fact that invites testing on
larger populations to better pinpoint the size of the
effect (see, Simons, Shoda, & Lindsay, 2017). These
extensions should also advance theory, as our account
is admittedly tentative. Our main purpose was to estab-
lish the empirical phenomenon. In conclusion, a new
experimental psychology of standing might qualify
recent results in cognitive science that are largely based
on the experimental psychology of sitting.
Action Editor
D. Stephen Lindsay served as action editor for this article.
Author Contributions
All authors contributed equally in all stages of designing and
running the experiment, analyzing the data, interpreting the
data, and writing the manuscript, and all authors approved
the final version of the manuscript for publication.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest
with respect to their authorship or the publication of this
Supplemental Material
Additional supporting information can be found at http://
Open Practices
All data have been made publicly available via the Open Science
Framework and can be accessed at The
design and analysis plan for Experiment 3 was preregistered at
the Open Science Framework and can be accessed at https:// The complete Open Practices Disclosure for
this article can be found at
suppl/10.1177/0956797617721270. This article has received
badges for Open Data and Preregistration. More information
about the Open Practices badges can be found at https://www
Chajut, E., & Algom, D. (2003). Selective attention improves
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Hazamy, A. A., Altmann, L. J., Stegemöller, E., Bowers, D.,
Lee, H. K., Wilson, J., . . . Hass, C. J. (2017). Improved
Sitting Standing
Response Time (ms)
Congruent Stimuli
Incongruent Stimuli
Fig. 1. Results from Experiment 3: mean response time for naming
the color of congruent and incongruent stimuli, separately for the
standing and sitting conditions. Error bars indicate ±1 SEM.
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... However, it is well known that sedentary behavior (SB) such as sitting, and especially prolonged periods of SB without interruption, is negatively associated with physical and mental health outcomes (Tremblay et al., 2011;Suchert et al., 2015;Biddle et al., 2019;van der Berg et al., 2019). It has also been suggested that breaking up SB positively affects executive functioning (EF; Mullane et al., 2017;Rosenbaum et al., 2017;Mazzoli et al., 2019). Furthermore, it has been shown that light intensity physical activity (PA), including standing is beneficial for several markers of insulin sensitivity and plasma lipids, and that light intensity PA, such as standing, has a greater health effect than one-time intensive PA (Duvivier et al., 2013(Duvivier et al., , 2017(Duvivier et al., , 2018. ...
... The effect of standing on EF has been investigated in several studies, for example, in the study of Rosenbaum et al. (2017). In this study, university students stood while executing a 72 item Stroop test measuring inhibition. ...
... In this study, university students stood while executing a 72 item Stroop test measuring inhibition. The students in the standing condition performed better on this test than the students in the sitting condition (Rosenbaum et al., 2017). Additionally, studies with standing interventions of longer duration than conducted in the study of Rosenbaum and colleagues also reported positive effects of standing on EF. ...
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Research suggests that sedentary behavior (SB) is negatively associated with cognitive outcomes. Interrupting prolonged sitting has been shown to improve cognitive functions, including executive functioning (EF), which is important for academic performance. No research has been conducted on the effect of standing on EF in VET students, who make up a large proportion of the adolescent population and who are known to sit more than other students of this age. In this study, we investigated the acute effects of reducing SB by short time standing on EF in vocational education and training (VET) students. In a randomized crossover study, 165 VET students were first taught for 15 min in seated position. After this, they performed while seated the Letter Memory Test for updating, and the Color Shape Test for shifting and inhibition. Students were randomly assigned to a sitting or standing condition. All students were taught again for 15 min and then took the same tests in the condition they were allocated to, respectively, standing or seated. After 1 week, the test procedure was repeated, in which students switched conditions. Mixed model analyses showed no significant effect of sitting or standing on updating, shifting, or inhibition. Also, no significant differences were found for the order of condition on updating, shifting, or inhibition. Our results suggest that 40 min of standing does not significantly influence EF among VET students.
... Standing compared to sitting, for instance at work, is associated with positive physical and mental health consequences. Indeed, studies suggest that performance in cognitive conflict tasks (e.g., Color Stroop tasks) is improved when subjects perform the task while standing compared to sitting (Rosenbaum et al., 2018;Smith et al., 2019). However, a recent study failed to replicate these findings in five attempts (Caron et al., 2020). ...
... A recent study found that standing relative to sitting improved cognitive control (Rosenbaum et al., 2018). In two experiments, participants responded to the print-color of a color word that was either congruent or incongruent to the color word's meaning (i.e., Color Stroop task) during standing and sitting posture. ...
... In the Color Stroop task, attention prioritizes task-relevant feature processing. As task-irrelevant information is only processed to the degree that additional resources are available, adding additional manipulations that require resources, like increased postural control, should reduce the Stroop effect (Rosenbaum et al., 2018). This theoretical explanation converges with studies that demonstrated reduced distractor interference at high perceptual load (i.e., Load Theory of Selective Attention and Cognitive Control, Lavie et al., 2004) and the observation that selectivity improves under stress (Chajut & Algom, 2003). ...
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Standing compared to sitting, for instance at work, is associated with positive physical and mental health consequences. Indeed, studies suggest that performance in cognitive conflict tasks (e.g., Color Stroop tasks) is improved when subjects perform the task while standing compared to sitting (Rosenbaum et al., 2018; Smith et al., 2019). However, a recent study failed to replicate these findings in five attempts (Caron et al., 2020). We aimed to shed light on these discrepant results by means of two conceptual replications and a meta-analysis. Replication experiments showed typical congruency effects in the Color Stroop task, but failed to find any influence of posture on the Stroop effect even when we subjected data to a more sensitive analysis that controlled for individual variances between participants. Additionally, an explorative Bayesian analysis confirmed that both replications provided strong evidence against an interaction between body posture and the Stroop effect. Meta-analytic results showed that the confidence interval of the overall effect size for a modulation of the Stroop effect by body posture includes the null. Together, our results question whether standing modulates the Stroop effect in Color Stroop tasks and points out limitations of the influence of body posture on cognitive control tasks.
... Therefore, changing posture during lessons may improve children attention. In adults, an increase in alertness (Caldwell et al., 2003;Barra et al., 2015) and to a lesser extent in executive control performance (Rosenbaum et al., 2017;Smith et al., 2019, but see Caron et al., 2020;Kang et al., 2021) were observed by adopting a standing compared to a sitting posture. These improvements may derive from neurophysiological modulations occurring when standing (Tulen et al., 1999;Hennig et al., 2000;Caldwell et al., 2003;Thibault and Raz, 2016) which may increase the level of general and cortical arousal (Barra et al., 2015;Smith et al., 2019). ...
... Results showed a moderate improvement in executive control when the children stood compared to sitting. These results are consistent with some performance of adults (Rosenbaum et al., 2017;Smith et al., 2019). The executive control level is strongly influenced by arousal (Matchock and Toby Mordkoff, 2009;McConnell and Shore, 2011), which may be increased by a standing posture (Barra et al., 2015). ...
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... The number of correct answers in the interference task increased in conditions involving standing, and the 'inhibition' element of executive function apparently improved. A previous study examining the effect of body posture on the executive function of young university students reported that the total time required to complete the Stroop test was shorter when responses were given while standing [26]. Our study supports this and indicates that elementary school students can also improve their 'inhibition' by standing while working. ...
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... Standing quietly may not require a particular neural effort (Morasso and Schieppati, 1999;Ivanenko and Gurfinkel, 2018) such that even a cognitive task is performed better while standing than sitting in young healthy subjects (Rosenbaum et al., 2017). Understandably, the metabolic cost of quiet stance is low in healthy subjects unless they have to counteract perturbations (Houdijk et al., 2009). ...
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Background Several investigations have addressed the process of balance adaptation to external perturbations. The adaptation during unperturbed stance has received little attention. Further, whether the current sensory conditions affect the adaptation rate has not been established. We have addressed the role of vision and haptic feedback on adaptation while standing on foam.Methods In 22 young subjects, the analysis of geometric (path length and sway area) and spectral variables (median frequency and mean level of both total spectrum and selected frequency windows) of the oscillation of the centre of feet pressure (CoP) identified the effects of vision, light-touch (LT) or both in the anteroposterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) direction over 8 consecutive 90 s standing trials.ResultsAdaptation was obvious without vision (eyes closed; EC) and tenuous with vision (eyes open; EO). With trial repetition, path length and median frequency diminished with EC (p < 0.001) while sway area and mean level of the spectrum increased (p < 0.001). The low- and high-frequency range of the spectrum increased and decreased in AP and ML directions, respectively. Touch compared to no-touch enhanced the rate of increase of the low-frequency power (p < 0.05). Spectral differences in distinct sensory conditions persisted after adaptation.Conclusion Balance adaptation occurs during standing on foam. Adaptation leads to a progressive increase in the amplitude of the lowest frequencies of the spectrum and a concurrent decrease in the high-frequency range. Within this common behaviour, touch adds to its stabilising action a modest effect on the adaptation rate. Stabilisation is improved by favouring slow oscillations at the expense of sway minimisation. These findings are preliminary to investigations of balance problems in persons with sensory deficits, ageing, and peripheral or central nervous lesion.
... All tests are conducted with the same configurations and rejection criteria used in the simulations. Rosenbaum, Mama, and Algom (2017) conducted an experiment to ascertain the effect of body posture on selective attention. 2 The experiment employed the Stroop test, where subjects are asked to announce colors of a sequence of words and not the words themselves (e.g., announce "blue" when the word "red" is printed in blue). ...
Statistical hypotheses are translations of scientific hypotheses into statements about one or more distributions, often concerning their center. Tests that assess statistical hypotheses of center implicitly assume a specific center, e.g., the mean or median. Yet, scientific hypotheses do not always specify a particular center. This ambiguity leaves the possibility for a gap between scientific theory and statistical practice that can lead to rejection of a true null. In the face of replicability crises in many scientific disciplines, "significant results" of this kind are concerning. Rather than testing a single center, this paper proposes testing a family of plausible centers, such as that induced by the Huber loss function (the "Huber family"). Each center in the family generates a testing problem, and the resulting family of hypotheses constitutes a familial hypothesis. A Bayesian nonparametric procedure is devised to test familial hypotheses, enabled by a pathwise optimization routine to fit the Huber family. The favorable properties of the new test are verified through numerical simulation in one- and two-sample settings. Two experiments from psychology serve as real-world case studies.
... Balasubramaniam & Wing, 2002;Riley & Turvey, 2002). Additionally, posture has been shown to be reflective of EMBODIED ART EXPERIENCE 24 cognitive processes (e.g., Balaban et al., 2004;Pellecchia, 2003;Rosenbaum, Mama & Algom, 2017). In this light, the result that dynamic stability and complexity were different between Pollock and Mondriaan paintings is particularly interesting since these correspond with two of the spatial features on which these artistic styles deviate quite considerably. ...
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Postural control of people looking at paintings of distinct artistic styles (Mondriaan’s neoplasticism and Pollock’s action painting; Experiment 1) was analyzed, as well as within a more diverse set of 20th-century abstract paintings (Experiment 2). Secondly, we explored the relation between postural control, emotional states of movement (moved by, drawn towards) and aesthetic appreciation (complexity, beauty, quality), in both experiments. Results revealed differences in postural control in Experiment 1, most notably more dynamically complex body sway for Pollocks, which did not generalize to the broader range of paintings in Experiment 2. More variable, dynamically stable, complex and intermittent postural sway was found, however, comparing a subset of high-motion and low-motion paintings. Emotional states of movement and aesthetic appreciation were associated to postural control, both across paintings and across persons in several ways. Together these findings provide preliminary empirical evidence for an embodied art experience.
... Furthermore, the preferred postural modality in which exercise is performed should be in a vertical body loading position (Swinnen et al., 2021). Exercise performed in standing position that requires a changing base of support to play the games better meets the specifics for training postural control (Tahmosybayat et al., 2018) and puts a higher demand on spatial processing demands (Dodwell et al., 2019) next to enhancing both processing speed and attentional selectivity (Rosenbaum et al., 2017). Such effects of improved balance and executive functions are not observed for exercise performed pedaling a bicycle in a seated position (Karssemeijer et al., 2019a,b) possibly due to a lack of a dynamic influence on visual working memory performance (Dodwell et al., 2019). ...
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Background: Utilizing information technology (IT) systems, for example in form of computerized cognitive screening or exergame-based (also called active videogames) training, has gained growing interest for supporting healthy aging and to detect, prevent and treat neurocognitive disorders (NCD). To ameliorate the effectiveness of exergaming, the neurobiological mechanisms as well as the most effective components for exergame-based training remain to be established. At the same time, it is important to account for the end-users’ capabilities, preferences, and therapeutic needs during the design and development process to foster the usability and acceptance of the resulting program in clinical practice. This will positively influence adherence to the resulting exergame-based training program, which, in turn, favors more distinct training-related neurobiological effects. Objectives and Methods: This methodological paper describes the design and development process of novel exergame-based training concepts guided by a recently proposed methodological framework: The ‘Multidisciplinary Iterative Design of Exergames (MIDE): A Framework for Supporting the Design, Development, and Evaluation of Exergames for Health’ (Li et al., 2020). Case Study: A step-by-step application of the MIDE-framework as a specific guidance in an ongoing project aiming to design, develop, and evaluate an exergame-based training concept with the aim to halt and/or reduce cognitive decline and improve quality of life in older adults with mild neurocognitive disorder (mNCD) is illustrated. Discussion and Conclusion: The development of novel exergame-based training concepts is greatly facilitated when it is based on a theoretical framework (e.g., the MIDE-framework). Applying this framework resulted in a structured, iterative, and evidence-based approach that led to the identification of multiple key requirements for the exergame design as well as the training components that otherwise may have been overlooked or neglected. This is expected to foster the usability and acceptance of the resulting exergame intervention in “real life” settings. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to implement a theoretical framework (e.g., the MIDE-framework) for future research projects in line with well-known checklists to improve completeness of reporting and replicability when serious games for motor-cognitive rehabilitation purposes are to be developed.
... Stepping exergames require participants to stand upright and perform steps, which directly addresses gait and balance (Kappen et al., 2018). Exergaming in an upright standing body position also enhances processing speed and attentional selectivity (Rosenbaum et al., 2017) and influences visual working memory performance (Dodwell et al., 2019). However, compared to seated cognitive games, exergames might impose a higher risk of falling than seated exergames. ...
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Purpose: This study investigates the usability of a stepping exergame in older adults with major neurocognitive disorder (MNCD) residing in a long-term care facility. Materials and Methods: A mixed methods study was conducted. Participants played exergames for 30 min on one try-out session. During the exergames, the think aloud method was used, and field notes were taken by the facilitator. Following the exergames, participants completed the System Usability Scale (SUS) and a semi-structured in-depth interview about usability including their personal experiences. Audio files were transcribed and a thematic content analysis of the think aloud data, field notes and interviews were performed using NVivo 12. Results: Twenty-two participants with MNCD were included [mean age = 84.3 ± 5.5 (70–95) years; 81.8% women; Short Physical Performance Battery score = 7.5 ± 3.2 (1–12), Montreal Cognitive Assessment score = 11.9 ± 4.4 (2–19)]. System usability was rated “ok to good” with a mean SUS score of 57.8 ( SD = 12.3) with scores ranging from 37.5 to 90.0. Five main themes emerged from the thematic content analysis: (1) perceived user friendliness and acceptability of the exergames; (2) interactional experience; (3) motivational factors; (4) training modalities; and (5) risks. There were no adverse events nor dropouts. Conclusion: Participants evaluated the usability of the exergames positively. The results indicate that the stepping exergame is usable in older adults with MNCD.
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Wearable technologies for measuring digital and chemical physiology are pervading the consumer market and hold potential to reliably classify states of relevance to human performance including stress, sleep deprivation, and physical exertion. The ability to efficiently and accurately classify physiological states based on wearable devices is improving. However, the inherent variability of human behavior within and across individuals makes it challenging to predict how identified states influence human performance outcomes of relevance to military operations and other high-stakes domains. We describe a computational modeling approach to address this challenge, seeking to translate user states obtained from a variety of sources including wearable devices into relevant and actionable insights across the cognitive and physical domains. Three status predictors were considered: stress level, sleep status, and extent of physical exertion; these independent variables were used to predict three human performance outcomes: reaction time, executive function, and perceptuo-motor control. The approach provides a complete, conditional probabilistic model of the performance variables given the status predictors. Construction of the model leverages diverse raw data sources to estimate marginal probability density functions for each of six independent and dependent variables of interest using parametric modeling and maximum likelihood estimation. The joint distributions among variables were optimized using an adaptive LASSO approach based on the strength and directionality of conditional relationships (effect sizes) derived from meta-analyses of extant research. The model optimization process converged on solutions that maintain the integrity of the original marginal distributions and the directionality and robustness of conditional relationships. The modeling framework described provides a flexible and extensible solution for human performance prediction, affording efficient expansion with additional independent and dependent variables of interest, ingestion of new raw data, and extension to two- and three-way interactions among independent variables. Continuing work includes model expansion to multiple independent and dependent variables, real-time model stimulation by wearable devices, individualized and small-group prediction, and laboratory and field validation.
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Postural control evolves from an interaction of the individual with the environment and the task. It emerges from a complex interaction of neural and musculoskeletal system, together referred as the system of postural control. Research into balance and postural control has shifted and broadened over the past few decades. To date, only few reviews were performed with reference to balance. However, with regard to postural control, no such review has been done. Here, we present a critical review on normal postural control. Relevant literature search was performed through the electronic databases of PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL, Google Scholar, Web of Science, EMBASE, OvidSP and ScienceDirect until December 2010. Literatures available about postural control are limited and about basic its concepts in line with the current knowledge of literature is inconclusive.
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Stress and perceptual load affect selective attention in a paradoxical manner. They can facilitate selectivity or disrupt it. This EEG study was designed to examine the reciprocal relations between stress, load and attention. Two groups of subjects, one that performed the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), and a control group, were asked to respond to a target letter under low and high perceptual load in the absence or presence of a distractor. In the control group, the distractor increased response times (RTs) for high and low load. In the TSST group, distractor increased RTs under low load only. ERPs showed that distractor’s presentation attenuated early visual P1 component and shortened its latency. In the TSST group, distractor reduced P1 component under high load but did not affect its latency. Source localization demonstrated reduced activation in V1 in response to distractors presence in the P1 time window for the TSST group compared to the control group. A behavioral replication revealed that in the TSST group distractors were less perceived under high load. Taken together, our results show that stress and perceptual load affect selectivity through the early stages of visual processing and might increase selectivity in a manner that would block conscious perception of irrelevant stimuli.
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Upright standing and walking tasks require the integration of several sources of sensory information. In a normal and highly predictable environment, locomotor synergies involving several muscles may take place at lower spinal levels with neural circuitry tuned by local loops of assistance or self-organizing processes generated in coordinative networks. When ongoing regulation of gait is necessary (obstacles, changes in direction) supraspinal involvement is necessary to perform movements adapted to the environment. Using a classical information processing framework and a dual-task methodology, it is possible to evaluate the attentional demands for performing static and dynamic equilibrium tasks. The present experiment evaluates whether the attentional requirements for a control sitting condition and for standing and walking conditions vary with the intrinsic balance demands of the tasks. The results show that standing and walking conditions required more attention than sitting in a chair. The attentional cost for walking was also significantly greater than for standing. For the walking task, reaction times when subjects were in single-support phase (small base of support) were significantly longer than those in double-support phase, suggesting that the attentional demands increased with an increase in the balance requirements of the task. Balance control requires a continuous regulation and integration of sensory inputs; increasing balance demands loads the higher level cognitive system.
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Space- or object-based models, on the one hand, and structural-informational models, on the other hand, reflect conceptually distinct approaches to visual selective attention. In 3 studies, the authors contrasted these approaches by jointly applying prototypical routines prescribed in each approach. Following a space-based paradigm developed by M. I. Posner, participants were cued to attend to a certain spatial location, and performance at expected and unexpected locations was compared. Following a structural paradigm developed by W. R. Garner, the targets were color words printed in various colors, and the participants responded to either the color or the word component of the stimulus. Performance was poorer at unexpected than at expected locations. However, comparable amounts of Stroop and Garner interference affected performance at both expected and unexpected locations. It is suggested that the processes that govern (a) input selection from the visual field and (b) dimensional selection from the stimulus reflect fundamentally different systems of attention.
Psychological scientists draw inferences about populations based on samples—of people, situations, and stimuli—from those populations. Yet, few papers identify their target populations, and even fewer justify how or why the tested samples are representative of broader populations. A cumulative science depends on accurately characterizing the generality of findings, but current publishing standards do not require authors to constrain their inferences, leaving readers to assume the broadest possible generalizations. We propose that the discussion section of all primary research articles specify Constraints on Generality (i.e., a “COG” statement) that identify and justify target populations for the reported findings. Explicitly defining the target populations will help other researchers to sample from the same populations when conducting a direct replication, and it could encourage follow-up studies that test the boundary conditions of the original finding. Universal adoption of COG statements would change publishing incentives to favor a more cumulative science.
Persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are typically more susceptible than healthy adults to impaired performance when two tasks (dual task interference) are performed simultaneously. This limitation has by many experts been attributed to limitations in cognitive resources. Nearly all studies of dual task performance in PD employ walking or balance-based motor tasks, which are commonly impaired in PD. These tasks can be performed using a combination of one or two executive function tasks. The current study examined whether persons with PD would demonstrate greater dual task effects (DTEs) on cognition compared to healthy older adults (HOAs) during a concurrent cycling task. Participants with and without PD completed a battery of 12 cognitive tasks assessing visual and verbal processing in the following cognitive domains: speed of processing, controlled processing, working memory and executive function. Persons with PD exhibited impairments compared to healthy participants in select tasks (i.e., 0-back, 2-back and operation span). Further, both groups unexpectedly exhibited dual task facilitation of response times in visual tasks across cognitive domains, and improved verbal recall during an executive function task. Only one measure, 2-back, showed a speed-accuracy trade-off in the dual task. These results demonstrate that, when paired with a motor task in which they are not impaired, people with PD exhibit similar DTEs on cognitive tasks as HOAs, even when these task effects are facilitative. More generally, these findings demonstrate that pairing cognitive tasks with cycling may actually improve cognitive performance which may have therapeutic relevance to cognitive decline associated with aging and PD pathology.
Selective attention can be improved under conditions in which a high perceptual load is assumed to exhaust cognitive resources, leaving scarce resources for distractor processing. The present study examined whether perceptual load and acute stress share common attentional resources by manipulating perceptual and stress loads. Participants identified a target within an array of nontargets that were flanked by compatible or incompatible distractors. Attentional selectivity was measured by longer reaction times in response to the incompatible than to the compatible distractors. Participants in the stress group participated in a speech test that increased anxiety and threatened self-esteem. The effect of perceptual load interacted with the stress manipulation in that participants in the control group demonstrated an interference effect under the low perceptual load condition, whereas such interference disappeared under the high perceptual load condition. Importantly, the stress group showed virtually no interference under the low perceptual load condition, whereas substantial interference occurred under the high perceptual load condition. These results suggest that perceptual and stress related demands consume the same attentional resources.
Investigated the interaction between postural regulation and spatial processing by having 24 college students perform L. R. Brooks's (see record 1968-04936-001 ) spatial and nonspatial memory tasks either while sitting or while maintaining a difficult standing balance position. The balance task disrupted spatial but not nonspatial memory performance. Balance steadiness during spatial and nonspatial memory conditions did not differ. Results suggest that cognitive spatial processing may rely on neural mechanisms that are also required for the regulation of posture. Findings support the idea that spatial processing may rely on phylogenetically older systems. (26 ref)
This study tested the proposition that deficient decision making under stress is due, to a significant extent, to the individual's failure to fulfill adequately an elementary requirement of the decision-making process, that is, the systematic consideration of all relevant alternatives. One hundred one undergraduate students (59 women and 42 men), aged 20-40, served as subjects in this experiment. They were requested to solve decision problems, using an interactive computer paradigm, while being exposed to controllable stress, uncontrollable stress, or no stress at all. There was no time constraint for the performance of the task. The controllability of the stressor was found to have no effect on the participants' performance. However, those who were exposed to either controllable or uncontrollable stress showed a significantly stronger tendency to offer solutions before all available alternatives had been considered and to scan their alternatives in a nonsystematic fashion than did participants who were not exposed to stress. In addition, patterns of alternative scanning were found to be correlated with the correctness of solutions to decision problems.