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Background: Body posture reflects emotional states, and this study investigates the effect of posture sitting in a slouched or upright position on recall of either negative (hopeless, helpless, powerless, or defeated) memories or positive (empowered or optimistic) memories. Methods: 216 college students sat in either a slouched or an erect position while recalling negative memories and then in a second step, recalling positive memories. They then sat in the opposite body position while recalling negative and then positive memories. Results: 86% of the students reported that it was easier to recall/access negative memories in the collapsed position than in the erect position (p < 0.01) and 87% of the students reported that it was easier to recall/access positive images in the erect position than in the collapsed position (p < 0.01). Participants who reported being most depressed over the previous two years reported significantly more recall of negative memories in both the slouched position (p = 0.01) and erect position (p < 0.05). For those who were most depressed, there were no differences in recalling positive memories. Conclusion: We recommend that therapists teach clients posture awareness and sit more upright in the office and at home as a strategy to increase positive affect and decrease depression.
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Biofeedback ÓAssociation for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback
Volume 45, Issue 2, pp. 36–41
DOI: 10.5298/1081-5937-45.2.01
How Posture Affects Memory Recall and Mood
Erik Peper, PhD, BCB,
I-Mei Lin, PhD, BCB,
Richard Harvey, PhD,
and Jacob Perez
Institute for Holistic Health Studies/Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA;
Department of Psychology, College of
Humanities and Social Sciences, Kaohsiung Medical University Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Keywords: posture, memory, mood, depression, cognitive behavioral therapy
Body posture reflects emotional states, and this study
investigates the effect of posture sitting in a slouched or
upright position on recall of either negative (hopeless,
helpless, powerless, or defeated) memories or positive
(empowered or optimistic) memories.Two hundred and
sixteen college students sat in either a slouched or an erect
position while recalling negative memories and then in a
second step, recalling positive memories. They then sat in
the opposite body position while recalling negative and
then positive memories. Eighty-six percent of the students
reported that it was easier to recall/access negative
memories in the collapsed position than in the erect
position (p,.01), and 87% of the students reported that it
was easier to recall/access positive images in the erect
position than in the collapsed position (p,.01).
Participants who reported being most depressed over the
previous two years reported significantly more recall of
negative memories in both the slouched position (p¼.01)
and erect position (p,.05). For those who were most
depressed, there were no differences in recalling positive
memories. We recommend that therapists teach clients
posture awareness and to sit more upright in the office and
at home as a strategy to increase positive affect and
decrease depression.
When I sat collapsed looking down, negative memories
flooded me and I found it difficult to shift and think of positive
memories. While sitting erect, I found it easier to think of
positive memories.
—Student participant
The link between posture and mood is embedded in
idiomatic phrases such as walking tall,standing proud,
and an upstanding citizen, versus collapsed,defeated,orin
a slump; this language suggests that posture and mood/
emotions are connected. Slumped posture is commonly
observed in depression (Canales, Cordas, Fiquer, Caval-
cante, & Moreno, 2010; Michalak et al., 2009) and adapting
an upright posture increases positive affect, reduces fatigue,
and increases energy in people with mild to moderate
depression (Peper & Lin, 2012; Wilkes, Kydd, Sagar, &
Broadbent, 2017).
Most psychotherapies tend to focus on the mind
component of the body-mind relationship. On the other
hand, exercise and posture focus on the body component of
the mind/emotion/body relationship. Physical activity in
general has been demonstrated to improve mood and
exercise has been successfully used to treat depression with
lower recidivism rates than pharmaceuticals such as
sertraline (Zoloft) (Babyak et al., 2000). Although the role
of exercise as a treatment strategy for depression has been
accepted, the role of posture is not usually included in
cognitive behavior therapy or biofeedback or neurofeedback
Hormone levels also change in a collapsed posture
(Carney, Cuddy, & Yap, 2010). For example, 2 minutes of
standing in a collapsed position significantly decreased
testosterone and increased cortisol as compared to a ‘‘ power
posture,’’ which significantly increased testosterone and
decreased cortisol while standing. As Cuddy pointed out in
a Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) talk, ‘‘ By
changing posture, you not only present yourself differently
to the world around you, you actually change your
hormones’’ (Cuddy, 2012).
Wilkes et al. (2017) and Peper and Lin (2012) have
suggested a link between posture, emotions, and cognitions
that describes the importance of postural interventions to
counter symptoms of depression and low energy. Peper and
Lin (2012) demonstrated that if people tried skipping rather
than walking in a slouched posture, subjective energy after
the exercise was significantly higher. Among the partici-
pants who had reported the highest level of depression
during the last 2 years, there was a significant decrease of
subjective energy when they walked in slouched position
compared with those who reported a low level of
depression. Earlier, Wilson and Peper (2004) demonstrated
Summer 2017 |Biofeedback
that in a collapsed posture, students more easily accessed
hopeless, powerless, defeated and other negative memories
as compared to memories accessed in an upright position.
More recently, Tsai, Peper, and Lin (2016) showed that
when participants sat in a collapsed position, evoking
positive thoughts required more ‘‘ brain activation’’ (i.e.,
greater mental effort) compared to that required when
walking in an upright position.
The purpose of this study is to expand on our
observations with more than 3,000 students and workshop
participants. We observed that body posture and position
affects recall of emotional memory and a history of self-
described depression appears to affect the recall of either
positive or negative memories.
Two hundred and sixteen college students (65 males, 142
females, 9 undeclared),with an average age of 24.6 years
(SD ¼7.6) participated in a regularly planned classroom
demonstration regarding the relationship between posture
and mood. As an evaluation of a classroom activity, this
report of findings was exempted from Institutional Review
Board oversight.
While sitting in a class, students filled out a short,
anonymous questionnaire, which asked them to rate their
history of depression over the last 2 years, their level of
depression and energy at this moment, and how easy it was
for them to change their moods and energy level (on a scale
from 1–10). The students also rated the extent they became
emotionally absorbed or ‘‘captured’’ by their positive or
negative memory recall. Half of the students were asked to
rate how they sat in front of their computer, tablet, or
mobile device on a scale from 1 (sitting upright) to 10
(completely slouched).
Two different sitting postures were clearly defined for
participants: slouched/collapsed and erect/upright, as shown
in Figure 1. To assume the collapsed position, they were
asked to slouch and look down while slightly rounding the
back. For the erect position, they were asked to sit upright
with a slight arch in their back, while looking upward.
After experiencing both postures, half the students sat in
the collapsed position while the other half sat in the upright
position. While in this position, they were asked to recall/
evoke as many hopeless, helpless, powerless, or defeated
memories as possible, one after the other, for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds they were reminded to keep their same
position and let go of thinking negative memories. They
were then asked to recall/evoke only positive, optimistic, or
empowering memories for 30 seconds.
The participants were then asked to switch positions.
Those who were collapsed switched to sitting erect, and
those who were erect switched to sitting collapsed. Then
they were again asked to recall/evoke as many hopeless,
helpless, powerless, or defeated memories as possible one
after the other for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds they were
reminded to keep their same position and again let go of
thinking of negative memories. They were then asked to
recall/evoke only positive, optimistic, or empowering
memories for 30 seconds, while still retaining the second
The participants then rated their subjective experience in
recalling negative or positive memories and the degree to
which they were absorbed or captured by the memories in
each position, and in which position it was easier to recall
positive or negative experiences.
Among the participants, 86% reported that it was easier to
recall/access negative memories in the collapsed position
than in the erect position, which was significantly different
as determined by one-way analysis of variance, F(1, 430) ¼
110.193, p,.01, and 87% of participants reported that it
was easier to recall/access positive images in the erect
position than in the collapsed position, which was
significantly different as determined by one-way analysis
of variance, F(1, 430) ¼173.861, p,.01, as shown in
Figure 2. The difficulty or ease of recalling negative or
positive memories varied depending on position as shown
in Figure 3.
The participants with a high level of depression over the
last 2 years (top 23% of participants who scored 7 or higher
on the scale of 1–10) reported that it was significantly more
difficult to change their mood from negative to positive,
t(110) ¼4.08, p,.01, than was reported by those with a
low level of depression (lowest 29% of the participants who
scored 3 or less on the scale of 1–10). It was significantly
easier for more depressed students to recall/evoke negative
memories in the collapsed posture, t(109) ¼2.55, p¼.01,
and in the upright posture, t(110) ¼2.41, p.05, and no
significant difference in recalling positive memories in
either posture, as shown in Figure 4.
For all participants, there was a significant correlation (r
¼.4) between subjective energy level and ease with which
they could change from negative to positive mood. There
were no significance differences for gender in all measures
except that males reported a significantly higher energy
Peper et al.
Biofeedback |Summer 2017
level than females (M¼5.5, SD ¼3.0 and M¼4.7, SD ¼
3.8, respectively; t[203] ¼2.78, p,.01).
A subset of students also rated their posture when sitting
in front of a computer or using a digital device (tablet or cell
phone) on a scale from 1 (upright) to 10 (completely
slouched). The students with the highest levels of
depression over the last 2 years reporting slouching
significantly more than those with the lowest level of
depression over the last 2 years (M¼6.4, SD ¼3.5 and M¼
4.6, SD ¼2.6; t[46] ¼3.5, p,.01).
There were no other order effects except of accessing
fewer negative memories in the collapsed posture after
accessing positive memories in the erect posture, t(159) ¼
2.7, p,.01. Approximately half of the students who also
rated being ‘‘captured’’ bytheirpositiveornegative
memories were significantly more captured by the negative
memories in the collapsed posture than in the erect posture,
t(197) ¼6.8, p,.01, and were significantly more captured
by positive memories in the erect posture than the collapsed
posture, t(197) ¼7.6, p,.01, as shown in Figure 5.
Posture significantly influenced access to negative and
positive memory recall and confirms the report by Wilson
and Peper (2004). The collapsed/slouched position was
associated with significantly easier access to negative
memories. This is a useful clinical observation because
ruminating on negative memories tends to decrease
subjective energy and increase depressive feelings (Michl,
McLaughlin, Shepherd, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2015). When
working with clients to change their cognitions, especially
in the treatment of depression, the posture may affect the
Figure 1. Sitting in a collapsed position and upright position (photo by Jana Asenbrennerova). Reprinted by permission from Gorter and Peper (2011).
Posture’s Effects on Memory and Mood
Summer 2017 |Biofeedback
outcome. Thus, therapists should consider posture re-
training as a clinical intervention. This would include
teaching clients to change their posture in the office and at
home as a strategy to optimize access to positive memories
and thereby reduce access or fixation on negative
memories. Thus if one is in a negative mood, then
slouching could maintain this negative mood while
changing body posture to an erect posture, would make
it easier to shift to a positive mood.
Physiologically, an erect body posture allows partici-
pants to breathe more diaphragmatically because the
diaphragm has more space for descent. It is easier for
participants to learn slower breathing and increased heart
rate variability while sitting erect as compared to collapsed,
as shown in Figure 6 (Mason et al., 2017).
The collapsed position also tends to increase neck and
shoulder symptoms. This position is often observed in
people who work at the computer or are constantly looking
at their cell phone—a position sometimes labeled as the ‘‘i-
Implication for therapy
In most biofeedback and neurofeedback training sessions,
posture is not assessed and clients sit in a comfortable chair,
which automatically causes a slouched position. Similarly,
at home, most clients sit on an easy chair or couch, which
lets them slouch as they watch TV or surf the web. Finally,
most people slouch when looking at their cellphone, tablet,
or the computer screen (Guan et al., 2016). They usually
Figure 2. Percent of respondents who reported that it was easier to recall
positive or negative memories in an upright or slouched posture.
Figure 3. The relative subjective rating in the ease or difficulty of recalling
negative and positive memories in collapsed and upright positions.
Figure 4. Differences is in memory access for participants with a history of
least or most depression.
Figure 5. Subjective rating of being captured by negative and positive
memories depending upon position.
Peper et al.
Biofeedback |Summer 2017
only become aware of slouching when they experience
neck, shoulder, or back discomfort.
Clients and therapists are usually not aware that a
slouched posture may decrease the client’s energy level and
increase the prevalence of a negative mood. Thus, we
recommend that therapists incorporate posture awareness
and training to optimize access to positive imagery and
increase energy.
We thank Frank Andrasik for his constructive comments.
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Posture’s Effects on Memory and Mood
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Erik Peper I-Mei Lin
Richard Harvey Jacob Perez
Correspondence: Erik Peper, PhD, BCB, Institute for Holistic
Healing Studies/Department of Health Education, San Francisco
State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132,
email:, Web:, blog:
Peper et al.
Biofeedback |Summer 2017
... Furthermore, another study found that sitting in a hunched and bent position was accompanied by a recall of negative memories, whereas sitting upright was accompanied by reminders of positive memories and pride. Therefore, researchers recommended sitting upright to increase positive affectation and reduce depression [47]. When comparing the stress values in the anterior and posterior sides of the lumbosacral region at the same flexion angles, only at 0 degrees the stress value was 2.18 times higher on the posterior side, whereas at all other flexion angles, i.e., 15, 30 and 45 degrees, the stress, in terms of both distribution and values, was greater in the anterior side by 1.09, 1.71, and 1.72, respectively. ...
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... The lectures include short experiential practices the body-mind connections such as imagining a lemon to increase salivation, the effect of slouched versus erect posture on evoking positive/empowering or hopeless/helpless/powerless/defeated thoughts, and the effect of sequential 70% exhalation for 30 s on increasing anxiety (Peper et al., 2002;Peper et al., 2017;Peper & MacHose, 1993;Tsai, Peper, & Lin, 2016). ...
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More than half of college students self-report some kind of anxiety and depression. This study reports how a university course that incorporated structured self-experience practices may reduce symptoms of self-reported anxiety associated with college stress and strain. Ninety-eight college Junior and Senior students were enrolled in a Holistic Health class that focused on "whole-person" Holistic Health curriculum and included the exploration of psychobiology of stress, the role of posture, and the psychophysiology of respiration. The class included daily self-practices of awareness of stress, muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and posture awareness. The students were instructed to apply these techniques whenever they become aware of, or experienced, sensations of stress or dysfunctional breathing during the day. After 5 weeks of practice, the students self-reported a 73% reduction in anxiety, 68% reduction in stress, 27% reduction in neck and shoulder discomfort, 26% reduction in abdominal discomfort; 18% of abdominal discomfort and 16% reduction in menstrual cramps. We recommend that schools incorporated a "whole-persons" self-care approach within their curriculum to teach students skills to prevent and reduce anxiety and stress and that therapists teach these skill before beginning bio/neurofeedback.
... Similarly, it is also possible in the present study that the operationalization of contractive posture led participants to sit upright (erect spine), whereas the expansive posture led them to be slumped forward to reach the materials (curved spine). Some studies have demonstrated that participants in an upright sitting posture (compared to in a slumped posture) reported higher self-esteem (Nair, Sagar, Sollers, Consedine, & Broadbent, 2015), generated more positive thoughts (Wilson & Peper, 2004), rated a math test as being less difficult (Peper, Harvey, Mason, & Lin, 2018), recalled more positive images (Peper, Lin, Harvey, & Perez, 2017), and persisted longer on a task to solve puzzles (Riskind & Gotay, 1982). However, and to our knowledge, the effect of upright or slumped postures has not been examined on creative thinking, contrary to expansive and contractive postures (Andolfi et al., 2017;N. ...
Embodied creativity research has begun to demonstrate that postures may boost creative performance depending on whether the creativity task requires either divergent or convergent thinking processes. Although a few studies have demonstrated that being in an expansive posture can benefit creative performance in a divergent-exploratory thinking task, empirical evidence is lacking on the positive effects of a contractive posture on creative performance in a convergent-integrative thinking task. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that sitting in a contractive posture requiring arm flexion to perform a convergent-integrative thinking task would lead to better creative performance than sitting in an expansive posture requiring arm extension. The results confirmed this hypothesis and suggest that creativity may be influenced by participants’ sitting postures during a task. The findings provided new empirical evidence for embodied creativity based on the impact of body postures on creative thinking.
... Power poses have often increased feelings of power (see Gronau et al., 2017), which were measured using terms such as powerful, in charge, in control, and dominant (e.g., Carney et al., 2010;Park et al., 2013;. Upright postures have often increased positive emotions (e.g., Nair et al., 2015;Peper et al., 2017). Typically, researchers used ad hoc single-item or multi-item mood measures (e.g., Briñol et al., 2009;Roberts & Arefi-Afshar, 2007), or in some cases standardized scales (e.g., Profile of Mood States in Miragall et al., 2020;Affect Valuation Index in Nair et al., 2015). ...
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Background Depression is a severe illness that has accelerated with the spread of COVID-19 and associated lockdowns. As a result, reported physical activity has substantially decreased, further increasing depressive symptoms. Objective This study aims to explain the use of gamification principles to develop content for an interactive physical activity game for depression based on clinically proven depression diagnostic criteria. Methods We discuss related work in this field, the game design framework, the users’ depression severity, how we customize the contents accordingly, the gradual progression of the game to match exercise principles, and user flow optimization. Results We provide a brief description of each of the games developed, including instructions on how to play and design aspects for flow, audio, and visual feedback methods. Exergames (interactive physical activity–based games) stimulate certain physical fitness factors such as improving reaction time, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility. In addition, the game difficulty progresses based on various factors, such as the user’s performance for successful completion, reaction time, movement speed, and stimulated larger joint range of motions. Cognitive aspects are included, as the user has to memorize particular movement sequences. Conclusions Mental health issues are linked to behavior and movement; therefore, future physical activity–based interactive games may provide excellent stimulation for inducing user flow, while physical activity can help train various physical fitness factors linked to depression.
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The pandemic process, which has been announced all over the world due to COVID-19 and has been going on for about two year, has profoundly affected the lives of individuals, causing changes in many areas of life. Especially in the field of education, face-to-face education was suspended, and distance education was started, and the distance education process became widespread and became the new normal of life brought by the pandemic process. In this new normal, individuals have started to spend a large part of their daily life online in front of technological devices. It has been determined that individuals who carry out all kinds of activities through online platforms use the Zoom application most frequently and Zoom is an important component of the lives of individuals. The fact that individuals spend most of the day on Zoom for different reasons has led to the emergence of physical, cognitive and psychological problems. All the problems experienced as a result of excessive, unconscious and uncontrolled use of Zoom are expressed as Zoom fatigue in the literature. In this study, the concept of Zoom fatigue, which is seen as the new problem of the digital age, is discussed within the framework of the literature. In particular, the emergence of the concept of Zoom fatigue, the way it is defined, its basic causes, its biological and neuropsychological explanation, its effects on individuals and what should be done to reduce these effects are examined in detail. It is believed that this study, which is thought to be a current and original subject, will make significant contributions particularly to the national literature.
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A novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is not just about physical health; It disrupts daily life on a global scale by changing individual and social attitudes and behaviors. In these conditions, video conferencing applications are becoming mainstream worldwide for the continuation of work, social life and education. Video conferences have helped us to remotely connect study rooms, class-rooms, but after attending one or 2 virtual meetings, listening to an online webinar or two, and per-haps speaking, people begin to express feeling exhausted and nervous. Thus, a new term emerged, also named after a popular application, resulting from the excessive use of video conferencing plat-forms: 'Zoom Fatigue'. Zoom fatigue is defined as feeling tired after a meeting over a video confer-encing tool. Fatigue appears to be different and specific from normal work fatigue. Mechanisms spe-cific to existing video conferencing applications that can cause Zoom Fatigue are suggested. The first mechanism mentions mirror anxiety, which can be triggered by self-gaze in video conferences. The second mechanism is the feeling of being trapped by the need to stay within the camera's field of view. The other mechanism has to do with the increased cognitive load of managing nonverbal be-haviors in this new communication environment. COVID-19 is increasing the long-anticipated trend of remote work. Even as social distancing recommendations are eased and face-to-face meetings be-come safe again, video conferencing apps seem to have the potential to continue to increase produc-tivity and save energy.
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Introduction: Erect and slouch body postures affect access to positive and negative emotions. In an erect sitting posture participants reported more positive emotion and thoughts, while in a slouch position they reported more negative emotion and thoughts. This study explored the electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns under erect and slouch body postures while recalling positive and negative events. Methods: Twenty-eight healthy college students were instructed to sit quietly with their eyes closed for 1 min, and then to sit in erect or slouch postures while recalling happy or depressive events for 1 min each. EEG, with linked-ear references, was recorded at Cz and analyzed under five conditions. Results: There were significantly higher amplitudes of beta2, beta3, and beta4 in a slouch posture while recalling happy events than in an erect posture while recalling happy or depressive events. There was no significant difference between body posture and emotional recall on low-frequency oscillatory activity. The reaction time was significantly longer to access positive event in the slouched position as compared to the erect position. Conclusion: Evoking positive thoughts in a slouch body position takes more effort or arousal than other positions as indicated by the significant increase in high-frequency oscillatory activities. The implication for cognitive behavior therapy is that body posture matters; clients have more difficulty shifting to evoking a positive emotional state when sitting in a collapsed position than when sitting in an erect position.
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The treatment of depression has predominantly focused on medication or cognitive behavioral therapy and has given little attention to the effect of body movement and postures. This study investigated how body posture during movement affects subjective energy level. One hundred and ten university students (average age 23.7) rated their energy level and then walked in either a slouched position or in a pattern of opposite arm and leg skipping. After about two to three minutes, the students rated their subjective energy level, then walked in the opposite movement pattern and rated themselves again. After slouched walking, the participants experienced a decrease in their subjective energy (p < .01); after opposite arm leg skipping they experienced a significant increase in their subjective energy (p < .01). There was a significantly greater decrease (p < .05) in energy at the end of the slouched walk for the 20% of the participants who had the highest self-rated depression scores, as compared to the lowest 20%. By changing posture, subjective energy level can be decreased or increased. Thus the mind-body relationship is a two way street: mind to body and body to mind. The authors discuss clinical and teaching implications of body posture.
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In this study, we aimed to quantify posture and body image in patients with major depressive disorder during episodes and after drug treatment, comparing the results with those obtained for healthy volunteers. Over a 10-week period, we evaluated 34 individuals with depression and 37 healthy volunteers. Posture was assessed based on digital photos of the subjects; CorelDRAW software guidelines and body landmarks were employed. Body image was evaluated using the Body Shape Questionnaire. During depressive episodes (in comparison with the post-treatment period), patients showed increased head flexion (p<0.001), increased thoracic kyphosis (p<0.001), a trend toward left pelvic retroversion (p=0.012) and abduction of the left scapula (p=0.046). During remission, patient posture was similar to that of the controls. At week 1 (during the episode), there were significant differences between the patients and the controls in terms of head flexion (p<0.001) and thoracic kyphosis (p<0.001); at weeks 8-10 (after treatment), such differences were seen only for shoulder position. The mean score on the Body Shape Questionnaire was 90.03 during the depressive episode, compared with 75.82 during remission (p=0.012) and 62.57 for the controls. During episodes of depression, individuals with major depressive disorder experience changes in posture and mild dissatisfaction with body image. The findings demonstrate that the negative impact of depression includes emotional and physical factors.
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Humans and other animals express power through open, expansive postures, and they express powerlessness through closed, contractive postures. But can these postures actually cause power? The results of this study confirmed our prediction that posing in high-power nonverbal displays (as opposed to low-power nonverbal displays) would cause neuroendocrine and behavioral changes for both male and female participants: High-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk; low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern. In short, posing in displays of power caused advantaged and adaptive psychological, physiological, and behavioral changes, and these findings suggest that embodiment extends beyond mere thinking and feeling, to physiology and subsequent behavioral choices. That a person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful has real-world, actionable implications.
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This study assessed whether it was easier to generate positive and negative thoughts in either an upright or slumped position. Twenty-four participants, who reported no clinical depression or anxiety, completed the Tellegen absorption questionnaire and a self-assessment of imagery ability. Surface electromyography (sEMG) of zygomaticus major, heart rate, and respiratory rate were assessed across four 1-min counterbalanced conditions of either upright or slumped posture and either positive or negative thought generation. Posttrial checks of compliance were completed. At the end of the study, participants rated which thought was easiest to generate in the two postures. Significantly more participants (22), or 92%, indicated it was easiest to generate positive thoughts in the upright position. ANOVA of sEMG activity significantly distinguished positive and negative thoughts in both positions. Significant correlation coefficients were observed between scores on the Tellegen scale of absorption and the ability to generate thoughts quickly and between self-perceptions of imagery ability with the maintenance of thoughts across time. This study supports the finding that positive thoughts are more easily recalled in the upright posture.
Background and objectives: Slumped posture is a diagnostic feature of depression. While research shows upright posture improves self-esteem and mood in healthy samples, little research has investigated this in depressed samples. This study aimed to investigate whether changing posture could reduce negative affect and fatigue in people with mild to moderate depression undergoing a stressful task. Methods: Sixty-one community participants who screened positive for mild to moderate depression were recruited into a study purportedly on the effects of physiotherapy tape on cognitive function. They were randomized to sit with usual posture or upright posture and physiotherapy tape was applied. Participants completed the Trier Social Stress Test speech task. Changes in affect and fatigue were assessed. The words spoken by the participants during their speeches were analysed. Results: At baseline, all participants had significantly more slumped posture than normative data. The postural manipulation significantly improved posture and increased high arousal positive affect and fatigue compared to usual posture. The upright group spoke significantly more words than the usual posture group, used fewer first person singular personal pronouns, but more sadness words. Upright shoulder angle was associated with lower negative affect and lower anxiety across both groups. Limitations: The experiment was only brief and a non-clinical sample was used. Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that adopting an upright posture may increase positive affect, reduce fatigue, and decrease self-focus in people with mild-to-moderate depression. Future research should investigate postural manipulations over a longer time period and in samples with clinically diagnosed depression. Link to paper
This cross-sectional study aimed to identify gender differences in the cervical postures when young adults were using mobile phones, as well as the correlations between the postures and the digital devices use (computer and mobile phone). Questionnaires regarding the habits of computer and mobile phone use were administrated to 429 subjects aged from 17 to 33 years old (19.75 ± 2.58 years old). Subjects were instructed to stand habitually and use a mobile phone as in daily life; the sagittal head and cervical postures were measured by head flexion, neck flexion angle and gaze angle. Male participants had a significantly larger head flexion angle (96.41° ± 12.23° vs. 93.57° ± 12.62°, p = 0.018) and neck flexion angle (51.92° ± 9.55° vs. 47.09° ± 9.45°, p < 0.001) than females. There were significant differences in head (F = 3.62, p = 0.014) and neck flexion (F = 3.99, p = 0.009) between different amounts of computer use. Practitioner Summary: We investigated possible gender differences in head and neck postures of young adults using mobile phones, as well as the potential correlations between these postures and digital device use. We found that males displayed larger head and neck flexion angles than females, which were associated with the amount of computer use.
Rumination is a well-established risk factor for the onset of major depression and anxiety symptomatology in both adolescents and adults. Despite the robust associations between rumination and internalizing psychopathology, there is a dearth of research examining factors that might lead to a ruminative response style. In the current study, we examined whether social environmental experiences were associated with rumination. Specifically, we evaluated whether self-reported exposure to stressful life events predicted subsequent increases in rumination. We also investigated whether rumination served as a mechanism underlying the longitudinal association between self-reported stressful life events and internalizing symptoms. Self-reported stressful life events, rumination, and symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed in 2 separate longitudinal samples. A sample of early adolescents (N = 1,065) was assessed at 3 time points spanning 7 months. A sample of adults (N = 1,132) was assessed at 2 time points spanning 12 months. In both samples, self-reported exposure to stressful life events was associated longitudinally with increased engagement in rumination. In addition, rumination mediated the longitudinal relationship between self-reported stressors and symptoms of anxiety in both samples and the relationship between self-reported life events and symptoms of depression in the adult sample. Identifying the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms that explain a greater propensity for rumination following stressors remains an important goal for future research. This study provides novel evidence for the role of stressful life events in shaping characteristic responses to distress, specifically engagement in rumination, highlighting potentially useful targets for interventions aimed at preventing the onset of depression and anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Objective: To analyze gait patterns associated with sadness and depression. Embodiment theories suggest a reciprocal relationship between bodily expression and the way in which emotions are processed. Methods: In Study 1, the gait patterns of 14 inpatients suffering from major depression were compared with those of matched never-depressed participants. In Study 2, we employed musical mood induction to induce sad and positive mood in a sample of 23 undergraduates. A Fourier-based description of walking data served as the basis for the computation of linear classifiers and for the analysis of gait parameters. Results: Gait patterns associated with sadness and depression are characterized by reduced walking speed, arm swing, and vertical head movements. Moreover, depressed and sad walkers displayed larger lateral swaying movements of the upper body and a more slumped posture. Conclusion: The results of the present study indicate that a specific gait pattern characterizes individuals in dysphoric mood.
The purpose of this study was to assess the status of 156 adult volunteers with major depressive disorder (MDD) 6 months after completion of a study in which they were randomly assigned to a 4-month course of aerobic exercise, sertraline therapy, or a combination of exercise and sertraline. The presence and severity of depression were assessed by clinical interview using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) and by self-report using the Beck Depression Inventory. Assessments were performed at baseline, after 4 months of treatment, and 6 months after treatment was concluded (ie, after 10 months). After 4 months patients in all three groups exhibited significant improvement; the proportion of remitted participants (ie, those who no longer met diagnostic criteria for MDD and had an HRSD score <8) was comparable across the three treatment conditions. After 10 months, however, remitted subjects in the exercise group had significantly lower relapse rates (p = .01) than subjects in the medication group. Exercising on one's own during the follow-up period was associated with a reduced probability of depression diagnosis at the end of that period (odds ratio = 0.49, p = .0009). Among individuals with MDD, exercise therapy is feasible and is associated with significant therapeutic benefit, especially if exercise is continued over time.