If math tests scare you, then you could benefit from a simple change in your posture, a new study has found.
The findings, published in the journal NeuroRegulation, suggested that over half of the participants found it easier to perform in math when sitting in an upright position.
"For people who are anxious about math, posture makes a giant difference," explained study co-author Erik Peper, Professor at the San Francisco State University in the US.
The study involved 125 college students to see how well they could perform simple math. They were asked to fill an anonymous questionnaire asking them to rate their anxiety levels while taking exams and performing math.
The research team noted that 56 per cent of the students found it easier to perform math in an upright position.
While the students without math anxiety did not report great benefits from a better posture, but they noticed that doing math while slumping over was somewhat more difficult.
The participants also described any physical symptoms of stress they experienced during the test-taking.
Slumping over is a defensive posture that can trigger old negative memories in the body and brain, said co-author Richard Harvey, Associate Professor at the varsity.
"The slumped-over position shuts them down and their brains do not work as well. They cannot think as clearly," Peper added.
The researchers noted that these findings about body posture can help people prepare for many different types of performances under stress, not just math tests.
Athletes, musicians and public speakers can all benefit from better posture prior to and during their performances.
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