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ERIC Number: EJ1007105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
The Embodiment of Focus: Investigating the Impact of Leaning Behavior on Our Cognitive State and Other's Perception of Our Cognitive State
Chisholm, Joseph D.; Risko, Evan F.; Kingstone, Alan
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v39 n1 p100-110 Feb 2013
The emerging literature on embodied cognition highlights the role that the body plays in cognitive and affective processes. We investigated whether different body postures, specifically leaning postures thought to reflect different states of cognitive focus, can impact cognitive focus and task performance. In three experiments we confirmed that different postures are perceived reliably by others to convey distinct and different states of cognitive focus. However, the individuals who actually adopted the postures did not experience any subjective change in cognitive focus nor demonstrate any influence of leaning posture on performance across a range of tasks that varied in their naturalness and complexity. Only by instructing participants to adopt a posture associated with a focused or unfocused cognitive state did an association between performance and posture emerge. These data indicate that changes in one's body do not necessarily yield a reliable change in one's cognitive state, even when (a) those changes in body are reliably perceived by others as inducing a change in cognitive state, and (b) changes in cognitive state lead to robust changes in the body. In light of these findings, we propose two related accounts that point to leaning behavior as being the result of one's increasing need to focus. Thus, rather than influencing cognitive state, leaning behavior may instead reflect the embodiment of one's cognitive state of focus. (Contains 2 figures and 3 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada