Stand at attention

He's paying more attention this way.  Image courtesy of Rama.

He's paying more attention this way.

Image courtesy of Rama.

A new study is revealing that people are able to more quickly solve problems that test their ability to pay attention while standing up than when sitting down. This flies in the face of the long held notion that standing up requires us to pay a little bit of attention to keep our balance and that this, in turn, interferes with our ability to entirely pay attention to other matters. It is also this wrongheaded logic that has guided important exams to be taken sitting down. As it turns out, if we were take such exams standing up we'd probably perform better.

Academically, this finding suggests that a great many psychological experiments that have been conducted in the past would yield different results if participants in them were take engage in such experiments while sitting down. It will be interesting to see how the psychological community responds to this. You can read more in The Economist article that I wrote on this here,