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Tema da TeseInfluence of school furniture misfit in the cognitive performance of students

Autor:  Agostinho Loureiro Fernandes

Programa Doutoral: Programa Doutoral em Engenharia Industrial e de Sistemas

Orientadores:  Paula Machado de Sousa Carneiro; Nélson Bruno Martins Marques da Costa

Data: 15/6/2020

Abstract: School furniture (table and chair) tries to respond to anthropometric requests from students so that they can feel comfortable during learning periods. This conjugation is not easy given the variety of anthropometric measurements of students who are in the phase of structural growth, particularly in the pre-adolescence and adolescence phase. The aim of this study was to know if there is a mismatch between school furniture and students belonging to a Portuguese school of the 2nd and 3rd cycle of schooling. It was also intended to know if this misadjustment caused a reduction in cognitive performance. For this purpose, all the furniture was measured, the anthropometric dimensions of all students were collected and an attention test was applied. In a first phase, the d2 attention test was applied to all students without taking into account the type of furniture they were using. A experimental group was then created to which compatible furniture was assigned according to European Standard 1729:1-2015.  After 4 months, the same attention test was applied to all students (experimental group and control group). It was found that students between 10 and 14 years old show a mismatch with school furniture of 74% (pair chair/table). The results obtained from the application of the d2 test in the two distinct moments (separated by a period of 4 months) seem to indicate that there was no drop in performance due to the ergonomic mismatch of school furniture. These results may have been influenced by two types of situation. The first may be related to the time that measured the two moments of application of the d2 attention test have been only 4 months. The second may be related to some situations that may have improved the combination of the control group furniture. One of them is associated with daily cleaning of the rooms. At the end of this cleaning it may happen that either chair, or even table, may not stay in the same place. Another situation may be related to the possibility of the teacher, in each class, deciding to change one or another student for reasons that may be related to the promotion of learning or control of the discipline (the experimental group was always protected against these possible occurrences). This work reinforced the database of anthropometric dimensions of the Portuguese population, in particular of students who attend the 2nd cycle of schooling, which did not exist. It also raised the issue of the use of mismatch furniture that could lead to loss of cognitive competence

Keywords: anthropometric dimensions. NE 1729-1:2015. pair chair/table.  test of attention d2.

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