Posture alters human resting-state


Neuroimaging is ubiquitous; however, neuroimagers seldom investigate the putative impact of posture on brain activity. Whereas participants in most psychological experiments sit upright, many prominent neuroimaging techniques (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)) require participants to lie supine. Such postural discrepancies may hold important implications for brain function in general and for fMRI in particular. We directly investigated the effect of posture on spontaneous brain dynamics by recording scalp electrical activity in four orthostatic conditions (lying supine, inclined at 45°, sitting upright, and standing erect). Here we show that upright versus supine posture increases widespread high-frequency oscillatory activity. Our electroencephalographic findings highlight the importance of posture as a determinant in neuroimaging. When generalizing supine imaging results to ecological human cognition, therefore, cognitive neuroscientists would benefit from considering the influence of posture on brain dynamics.