Your Posture Could Affect Your Ability To Learn

Your Posture Could Affect Your Ability To Learn

Excellent posture has the added benefit of lowering stress levels, but it turns out that it can also affect how well you learn and remember new things.

Photo by Joe Loong.

Inspired by a language-learning tip from our friends at io9, we did a bit of research and found that having great posture can make way for more efficient learning and increased memory retention. The Brainscape blog explains that when you’re learning something, you’re also taking in different factors that can affect how well you remember it:

According to a study conducted at Florida State University, researchers found out that “congruent body posture” significantly improved access to and retention of autobiographical memories in both young and adult people (Dijkstra, 2005). Therefore, we can say that posture is in some way affecting our ability to recall specific types of memories. But how so? The suggestion seems to be that when you remember something you are also reminded of the “state” of learning, a concept that not only includes posture but also emotions and surrounding environment. Bad posture can therefore be a hindrance to effective learning merely because we later interpret it as an “incongruent” positioning of the body.

They later go on to explain that learning efficiently requires a mix of physical and mental improvements. So while better posture isn’t necessarily the number one answer to increased memory retention, it can certainly play a significant role in how well you learn new things. Take a look at our guide on how to ergonomically optimise your workspace for ways to improve your posture.

Getting It Straight: Posture and its Influence on Learning and Memory [Brainscape]


  • Sounds like one of those cart before the horse things- i.e. when you have “bad” posture is normally when you’re relaxing and dreamy, so not too alert and ready for new stuff. The posture is actually completely irrelevant in that case, not helping or hindering, just a superficial indication of your mental state. You could just as easily be fully alert and aware while slumping, or daydreaming and useless while sitting bolt upright.

    I think the bolt upright so could “good” posture has been exploded as a myth previously anyway?

  • Your posture affects spinal cord tension and overall nervous-system function in a very real, physical way, at least in the long-term. We do not give posture and movement enough credit!

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