Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m crazy about the links between movement and cognition (“embodied cognition” is the fancy term for it, I’ve recently learned).
So imagine my thrill when the following headline came across my email today:
In a recent study subjects were asked to solve a problem while taking occasional movement breaks. The problem involved strings that swung from the ceiling. Researchers discovered that the subjects who swung their arms during breaks were 40% more likely to solve the problem than people who simply stretched. Evidently, the subjects’ unconscious kinesthetic identification with the swinging motion helped them solve the problem!
You can read the whole article here if you want to, or just check out these excerpts by University of Illiois Professor Alejandro Lleras:
“This emerging research is fascinating because it is demonstrating how your body is a part of your mind in a powerful way. The way you think is affected by your body and, in fact, we can use our bodies to help us think.”
He continues with this practical take-home message (which makes me very, very happy):
If you are stuck trying to solve a problem, take a break. Go do something else. This will ensure that the next time you think about that problem, you will literally approach it with a different mind.
I’m crazy about this advice because my invention — the MuseCubes — are based on the idea that we can use our bodies to help us think.
The MuseCubes are a set of dice designed to — quite literally! — shake you free when you’re feeing stuck. The picture at the beginning of the post shows you one of the original sets.
MuseCubes were SUCH A HIT on campus at Yale last week! SUCH A HIT! There were so many twisting-moaning, shaking-yelling, bending-howling moments. People letting loose and feeling more ready than ever to tackle their end of year classwork! PEOPLE LOVED THEM! I LOVED THEM MORE THAN EVER!
I’m so glad that my product could help bring stressed out students relief!
(Side Note: There are shocking statistics about mental health on college campuses, and I believe that is partially because of the unbalanced and unembodied ways we are expected to learn. But more about that in future blog posts).
What about you? What can YOU do to act on this research?
- If you’re curious about MuseCubes, please check out the website. I’m happy to send you a set or two.
- If you’re jazzed about this topic, and would like to read about how I used movement to help graduate students unpack heady concepts, check out this blog post about using the brains in our whole body.
- Maybe you need to go take a break right now?!
- But first, please comment below: how have you noticed movement influencing the way you think?