Journal of Ergonomics

Journal of Ergonomics
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7556


Assessing the Effect of Self-positioning on Cognitive Executive Function

Schraefel mc, Kenneth Jay and Lars L Andersen

Objective: The aim of this pilot study was to explore the effects of self-positioning on cognitive performance in the work environment using a standardized cognitive test battery to evaluate executive function under two conditions.
Methods: This randomized controlled cross-over trial involved 17 men (mean age ± SD: 29.8 ± 5.5) all with a science background. The participants were accustomed to working in an open environment and none of whom currently using standing desks. We used a modified version of the CNS Vital Signs (CNSVS) test battery to assess cognitive executive function in two typical work positions - standing and seated. Participants were randomly assigned to a standing or seated position to begin the testing procedure. Upon completion of the first test round they were instructed to rest for 10 min in a dark room with no distractions before commencing the second round of testing positioned in the alternate fashion. The main outcome measure was a CNSVS score in each of the six cognitive executive function domains in the two different work positions.
Results: A two-tailed paired t-test showed a significant difference between the standing (mean+/-SD: 94 ± 10) and seated (mean ± SD: 99 ± 9) position (p<0.01) in the domain score of Complex Attention but not in the other cognitive executive function domains.
Conclusion: Self-positioning has a significant impact on cognitive executive function when Complex Attention is required. Considerations towards body positioning and task may be beneficial in the workplace to optimize cognitive performance and lower the risk of person-made mistakes.