Embodiment: How we walk affects what we remember

Michalak, J. (2014). How we walk affects what we remember. Witten: Witten/Herdecke University.

People slouching along with sagging shoulders tend to remember negative things, while those with a cheerful posture and gait rather remember positive things – this was proven in a study by the psychologist Prof. Dr. Johannes Michalak of Witten/Herdecke University, which he, together with the colleagues from the Canadian Queen´s University, published in 2014.  

The psychology Professor Johannes Michalak was able to establish this (Michalak, 2014). He and his team of researchers instructed the students to walk with hung-down head and sagging shoulders. Another group was told to walk “happily”: with heads held high, with a bouncy and easy gait. In a test, now the groups were told to recall words from a text, which they were given to read. The “happy” group primarily recalled positive words, such as, “courageous” and the group with sluggish gait predominantly recalled words with negative connotations, such as, “stupid”.  Accordingly, even a posture “attracts” specific words. At NLC, we also speak of “exercised metaphors” within the meaning of motor-semantic fields: in this case, not only a word associates with another word, but the posture activates the matching thoughts and words from the Vita language of a person.