According to a team of Dutch scientists, walking backward helps people think more clearly.
The study, published in the Washington-based journal Psychological Science, tested the ability of 38 men and women to quickly name the colors in which different words were displayed.
During the tests, participants were told to step four paces to the left, right, backward or forward. In a subset of the trickier trials (ones where the words didn't relate in any way to the colors they were displayed in) performance was quickest when the subjects stepped four paces backward.
"Backward locomotion appears to be a very powerful trigger to mobilize cognitive resources," conclude the authors, of Radboud University Nijmegen. "Thus, whenever you encounter a difficult situation, stepping backward may boost your capability to deal with it effectively."
In case you were wondering why the researchers conducted such a seemingly nutty experiment to begin with: It's part of a larger field of study of the way body movements alter people's thinking/emotions.
Flexing or extending the arms, for example (the motions involved in either pulling or pushing) can make someone more apt to like or dislike something, respectively, researchers have reported.
Pushing and backing away are both avoidance actions - such actions are "usually performed in the context of aversive or problematic conditions that require enhanced control in order to focus on relevant information and to ward off negative consequences," the authors say.
这项研究发表在心理科学 (Psychological Science)上。研究者给38名男性和女性受试呈现不同的单词，并让他们快速说出单词的颜色。
“向后运动似乎可以非常有效的触发认知资源的分配，”来自Radboud University Nijmegen的作者总结道。“因此，当你遇到困难时，倒着走可以有效的提升你解决问题的能力。”