Sit up straight! Neck up! Shoulders back! Posture definitely affects how people perceive you. Parents stress how important it is to sit up straight, but does posture affect your mental performance? Teachers also encourage good posture in students—maybe they’re onto something! Let’s find out in this experiment.
Does posture affect how well you pay attention in school?
- 9 Volunteers
- 9 Desks
- Newspaper article
- 1 Sheet of paper for each volunteer
- 1 Pencil for each volunteer
- Seat each of your volunteers into a desk. Give each of them a pencil and a sheet of paper.
- Ask 3 volunteers to sit up straight, ask 3 to slouch, and ask 3 to put their heads down on their desks.
- Read the article out loud to all of them.
- When finished, ask your volunteers four simple questions about the details in the article, and four fairly detailed questions about the article.
- Have them write down the answers to all 8 questions on a piece of paper.
- Think about your own posture at school and how it might affect your learning. Which group do you think will answer the most questions right? Use this time to write down your guess, also called a hypothesis, in your notebook.
- Collect each volunteer’s paper.
- Grade each paper, recording each volunteer’s score in your notebook.
Volunteers who sat up straight and maintained good posture should score best. Those slouching will likely receive average scores. The group with their heads down should score the worst.
Good posture improves attentiveness and keeps you awake more effectively. Research has shown that students who keep good posture score higher on tests than those who slouch because slouching contributes to drowsiness, day dreaming, and sore muscles. Looking down at your desk may itself be a result of bad posture because you’ve become fatigued from muscle soreness and the sleep-inducing effect of slouching. Good posture also aids in attentiveness because students are able to connect visually with the lesson being given, even if this simply involves watching your teacher speak.