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Effect of standing or walking at a workstation on cognitive function: a randomized counterbalanced trial


Bantoft, C and Summers, MJ and Tranent, PJ and Palmer, MA and Cooley, PD and Pedersen, SJ, Effect of standing or walking at a workstation on cognitive function: a randomized counterbalanced trial, Human Factors, 58, (1) pp. 140-149. ISSN 0018-7208 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

DOI: doi:10.1177/0018720815605446


Objective: In the present study, we examined the effect of working while seated, while standing, or while walking on measures of short-term memory, working memory, selective and sustained attention, and information-processing speed.

Background: The advent of computer-based technology has revolutionized the adult workplace, such that average adult full-time employees spend the majority of their working day seated. Prolonged sitting is associated with increasing obesity and chronic health conditions in children and adults. One possible intervention to reduce the negative health impacts of the modern office environment involves modifying the workplace to increase incidental activity and exercise during the workday. Although modifications, such as sit-stand desks, have been shown to improve physiological function, there is mixed information regarding the impact of such office modification on individual cognitive performance and thereby the efficiency of the work environment.

Method: In a fully counterbalanced randomized control trial, we assessed the cognitive performance of 45 undergraduate students for up to a 1-hr period in each condition.

Results: The results indicate that there is no significant change in the measures used to assess cognitive performance associated with working while seated, while standing, or while walking at low intensity.

Conclusion: These results indicate that cognitive performance is not degraded with short-term use of alternate workstations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sitting, standing, sedentary, cognitive function, work efficiency, randomised control trial
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Educational psychology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Bantoft, C (Miss Christina Bantoft)
UTAS Author:Summers, MJ (Dr Mathew Summers)
UTAS Author:Tranent, PJ (Mr Peter Tranent)
UTAS Author:Palmer, MA (Associate Professor Matt Palmer)
UTAS Author:Cooley, PD (Associate Professor Dean Cooley)
UTAS Author:Pedersen, SJ (Dr Scott Pedersen)
ID Code:105124
Year Published:2016 (online first 2015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2015-12-08
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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