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You knit to help keep yourself here
May 26, 2013

At our May meeting, Heather Ordover impressed us with her theory of “cognitive anchoring,” or the power of repetitive, learned physical movements to improve intellectual involvement and soothe emotions.

Heather Ordover at Common Cod Fiber Guild in Cambridge, MA
Heather’s talk led to a lively discussion.

For the first time, she presented her preliminary literature review which spanned more than 150 years. Her research synthesis covered realms of psychology, education, physiology and spirituality, lending concrete evidence to something all knitters know:

We work better when we knit

Unfortunately, no scientific studies about concentration and knitting have been done. However, Heather did present research she found on fidgeting, and doodling, and how both of those activities also act as “cognitive anchoring.” Cognitive anchoring allows people to remain in the moment by giving them an easy task to keep their minds from wandering away. Many Codders said that they knit during work meetings and it helps them focus better.

So while the complicated lace pattern may pose an exception, knitting (or any small motor, repetitive, learned motion) at meetings, classes, or lectures doesn’t signify that we are bored or uninterested in the subject matter. Rather, it keeps our bodies occupied while our minds can concentrate on the material or issues at hand.

We look forward to what Heather does with this paradigm. She reminded us as the last slide projected above her head that “ Know that what you do is good. All because minds knit and knitting matters.”

So take that stockinette stitch with you no matter where you go!


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