Thursday, August 27, 2009

Three Days in a Row!!!

Three days now I've learned or re-learned something new! Yes, I'm patting myself on the back! I actually gleaned this new study from a magazine at the doctor's office.

Walking Backward May Sharpen Thinking

Facing a Challenge? Backing Yourself Out of It -- Literally -- May Help

By Miranda Hitti WebMD Health News

The next time you're facing a challenge, you might not want to stand your ground. Maybe you should try walking backward instead, Dutch researchers suggest.

Whenever you encounter a difficult situation, stepping backward may boost your capability to deal with it effectively," Severine Koch, PhD, and colleagues write in May's edition of Psychological Science.

Koch's team works for the social and cultural psychology department at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. They were interested in the effects that "approach" movements, like walking toward something or pulling something toward you, and "avoidance" movements, such backing away from something, have on mental functioning.

The researchers reasoned that the body and mind are on higher alert when they're in avoidance mode. So they put that theory to the test by studying 38 students at Radboud University Nijmegen. Each student took word tests in which they read a color word -- like red -- that was sometimes displayed in matching ink (like "red" written in red ink) and sometimes shown in another color (like "red" written in blue ink).

The students had to name, as quickly as possible, the color of the ink. And, they had to do that while walking forward, backward, or stepping sideways.

When the test was easy -- and the color names and inks matched -- reaction times for correct answers were just as good while the students walked forward, backward, or sideways. But when the test was tough -- and the color names and inks clashed -- reaction times for correct answers were quickest while walking backward. Reaction times while walking forward or stepping sideways were similar.

Researchers say that "backward locomotion appears to be a very powerful trigger to mobilize cognitive resources."

Try it. Next time you're in a tough situation, take a step back -- literally. Just be sure to watch where you're going.
I just thought it was interesting that they've actually found a physical, measurable foundation for a psychological response that may possibly help with stressful situations. "Take a step back" means a little more to me now.

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