Standing During Meetings Boosts Creativity, Study


People standing during meetings are likely to be more involved and artistic that those seated, according to a new study by the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Researchers said that people who stand and work also tend to be more cooperative and less territorial about their ideas.

"You can have great performance in a typical sitting down meeting, provided people are engaged in the process of building on one another's ideas," said Andrew Knight, the lead researcher and an assistant professor of organizational behavior. "It's just more likely to happen when people are in these non-sedentary meetings," Huffington Post reports.

Previous studies showed that walking improves creativity and standing desks makes employees more productive. However, this study examines the effect of standing on a group, not individuals, against sitting.

For the study, the researchers divided 214 undergrad students into 54 groups of two to five people. The participants were asked to make a 30-second recruitment video for the university and the project would be graded based on creativity. However, participants weren't aware that they were also being judged on their collaboration with others or their territoriality about their ideas.

The groups worked in conference rooms that either had chairs around the table and no chairs at all.

While working on the project, the participants wore sensors to determine "physiological arousal." When a participant's arousal system gets stimulated, sweat glands around the feet and hands emit moisture. The sensors that release a small current of electricity through the skin assess these moisture bursts.

Besides the video, the participants also took a survey where they answered questions regarding the territoriality other people in their group became about individual ideas. Plus, two teams of research assistants observed the team work, scored based on their cooperativeness and evaluated the creativity and quality of the final product.

The assistants found that the standing teams to be more collaborative. The surveys from standing groups showed that their members were less territorial than the sitting groups. Standing groups' final videos were also rated more creative than the sitting teams.

The finding is published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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