Improve Attention in Older Individuals with Exercise and Mindfulness

Improve Attention in Older Individuals with Exercise and Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation training improves the maintenance of goal-directed visuospatial attention and may be a useful strategy for counteracting cognitive decline associated with aging.” – Peter Malinowski

 

One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves attention

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. A common method to study the activity of the nervous system is to measure the electrical signal at the scalp above brain regions. Changes in this activity are measurable with mindfulness training.

 

One method to observe attentional processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to specific stimuli. These are called event-related, or evoked, potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The N2 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a negative going electrical response occurring between a 1 to 3 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The N2 component is thought to reflect cognitive control. The P3 response is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 3 to 6 tenths of a second following the target. The P3 component is thought to reflect attentional processing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Behavioral and ERP Correlates of Long-Term Physical and Mental Training on a Demanding Switch Task.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940199/ ) Burgos and colleagues recruited healthy adults aged 44-65 years. They were separated into groups of participants who practiced for at least 5 years either Tai Chi, Meditation, aerobic exercise, meditation and exercise, or were sedentary. The participants performed a visuospatial task switch test that required the participants to respond to the position of a dot on a screen with the same or opposite hand or to switch back and forth between the two after 2 trials. This measures executive attention. As they were performing the task the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded and the evoked potentials to the dot recorded.

 

They found that on the visuospatial task switch test the Tai Chi and Meditation plus exercise groups performed best, the aerobic exercise group intermediate, and the sedentary group worst. Performance was measured by the reaction times on the switch trials and also on the proportionate change in reaction times on switch trials. In the evoked potentials in the frontal and parietal cortical areas, the groups that had mental plus physical training (Tai Chi and Meditation plus exercise groups) had significantly larger N2 responses on switch trials than the meditation or exercise alone groups. They also found that the larger the N2 response the better the performance on the switch task.

 

These are interesting results. But the groups were composed of people who chose to engage in these differing activities and the groups may be composed of people who differ in other ways other than the chosen activity. It would be best in future research if random assignment and training were used. Nevertheless, the results suggest that executive attention is best in people who practice mental and physical exercises. These are superior to either alone and particularly superior to being sedentary.  It was not studied here, but the better performance in attentional ability would predict better overall performance in life and resistance to the mental decline with aging.

 

Both the performance on the task and the N2 responses reflect better executive control of attention. This means that the participants who performed both mindfulness and physical exercise improved their ability to control attention. Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and meditation are known to alter the brain and improve attention. But the reason why exercise supplements these benefits is unknown. It is possible that exercise isn’t responsible for improvement but that sedentariness is responsible for deterioration and exercise acts to prevent this deterioration. Nevertheless, the results are clear mindfulness plus physical activity alters the brain in such a way as to improve the individual’s ability to control attention.

 

So, improve attention in older individuals with exercise and mindfulness.

 

mindfulness may be a way to improve our cognitive control as we age by teaching us to improve our ability to focus our attention on a particular task.” – Holy Tiret

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Burgos, P. I., Cruz, G., Hawkes, T., Rojas-Sepúlveda, I., & Woollacott, M. (2021). Behavioral and ERP Correlates of Long-Term Physical and Mental Training on a Demanding Switch Task. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 569025. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.569025

 

Abstract

Physical and mental training are associated with positive effects on executive functions throughout the lifespan. However, evidence of the benefits of combined physical and mental regimes over a sedentary lifestyle remain sparse. The goal of this study was to investigate potential mechanisms, from a source-resolved event-related-potential perspective, that could explain how practicing long-term physical and mental exercise can benefit neural processing during the execution of an attention switching task. Fifty-three healthy community volunteers who self-reported long-term practice of Tai Chi (n = 10), meditation + exercise (n = 16), simple aerobics (n = 15), or a sedentary lifestyle (n = 12), aged 47.8 ± 14.6 (SD) were included in this analysis. All participants undertook high-density electroencephalography recording during a switch paradigm. Our results indicate that people who practice physical and mental exercise perform better in a task-switching paradigm. Our analysis revealed an additive effect of the combined practice of physical and mental exercise over physical exercise only. In addition, we confirmed the participation of frontal, parietal and cingulate areas as generators of event-related-potential components (N2-like and P3-like) commonly associated to the performance of switch tasks. Particularly, the N2-like component of the parietal and frontal domains showed significantly greater amplitudes in the exercise and mental training groups compared with aerobics and sedentary groups. Furthermore, we showed better performance associated with greater N2-like amplitudes. Our multivariate analysis revealed that activity type was the most relevant factor to explain the difference between groups, with an important influence of age, and body mass index, and with small effects of educational years, cardiovascular capacity, and sex. These results suggest that chronic combined physical and mental training may confer significant benefits to executive function in normally aging adults, probably through more efficient early attentional processing. Future experimental studies are needed to confirm our results and understand the mechanisms on parieto-frontal networks that contribute to the cognitive improvement associated with practicing combined mental and aerobic exercise, while carefully controlling confounding factors, such as age and body mass index.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940199/

 

 

Have Better Sex with Mindfulness

Have Better Sex with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful sex involves being able to observe and describe what’s happening inside your body and mind without sorting experiences into “bad” and “good” or trying to change your feelings. When we are able to do that, we can “turn off the autopilot.” – Gina Silverstein

 

Sex is a very important aspect of life. Problems with sex are very common and have negative consequences for relationships. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. Hence, sex has major impacts on people’s lives and relationships. Greater research attention to sexual activity and sexual satisfaction and the well-being of the individual is warranted.

 

Mindfulness trainings have been shown to improve a variety of psychological issues including emotion regulationstress responsestraumafear and worryanxiety, and depression, and self-esteem. Mindfulness training has also been found to improve relationships and to be useful in treating sexual problems. But there is little empirical research on the relationship of mindfulness with sexuality in normal, non-clinical, individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness in Sexual Activity, Sexual Satisfaction and Erotic Fantasies in a Non-Clinical Sample.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908537/ )  Sánchez-Sánchez and colleagues recruited online adults who were meditation naïve or who practiced meditation for at least 5 months. They completed measures online of mindfulness, body awareness, sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies.

 

They found that the meditation practitioners were significantly higher in emotion regulation, family, academics, relationships, sociability, attention, health, sexuality, and leisure and significantly lower in perceived stress. They were also significantly higher in mindfulness, body awareness, sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness and the amount of mindfulness practice, the higher the levels of body awareness sexual satisfaction and sexual activity. Also, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of body dissociation.

 

It should be kept in mind that there was no random assignment and so the groups may be quite different, People who meditate may be systematically different from those who don’t in many ways including the variables measured in this study. But previous research including randomized studies demonstrated that mindfulness produced higher levels of emotion regulation, family, academics, relationships, sociability, attention, health, and sexuality, and lower levels of stress. So, the present findings likely also represent causal connections.

 

These findings suggest that mindfulness is associated with better psychological and physical health and well-being. They also suggest that mindfulness is associated with better sexual function in terms of sexual activity, satisfaction with sex, and relationship quality and even a better sexual fantasy life. Sex is such an important aspect of life that many of the other psychological and physical benefits of mindfulness may emanate from the improved sex life of the individuals. Much more research is needed.

 

So, have better sex with mindfulness.

 

Think of mindful sex as an invitation, as an opportunity to explore the mystery of sex. The reward is deeper intimacy, more meaningful connections, and (fingers crossed) greater physical pleasure.” – Kayti Christian

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sánchez-Sánchez, L. C., Rodríguez, M., García-Montes, J. M., Petisco-Rodríguez, C., & Fernández-García, R. (2021). Mindfulness in Sexual Activity, Sexual Satisfaction and Erotic Fantasies in a Non-Clinical Sample. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3), 1161. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031161

 

Abstract

The goal of this study is to better understand the relation between the practice of Mindfulness and the sexual activity, sexual satisfaction and erotic fantasies of Spanish-speaking participants. This research focuses on the comparison between people who practice Mindfulness versus naïve people, and explores the practice of Mindfulness and its relation with the following variables about sexuality: body awareness and bodily dissociation, personal sexual satisfaction, partner and relationship-related satisfaction, desire, subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, orgasm, pain, attitudes towards sexual fantasies and types of sexual fantasies. The sample consisted of 106 selected adults, 32 men and 74 women, who completed six measures on an online survey platform: (a) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), (b) Scale of Body Connection (SBC), (c) New Sexual Satisfaction Scale (NSSS), (d) Scale of Sexual Activity in Women (SSA-W) and Men (SSA-M), (e) Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF), (f) Wilson’s Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. In the MAAS, Body Awareness subscale (SBC), NSSS, SSA-W and SSA-M, HISF and intimate fantasies subscale (Wilson’s questionnaire), people in the Mindfulness condition showed higher scores and these differences were statistically significant. These results may have relevant implications in the sexuality of clinical and non-clinical samples.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908537/

 

Mind Wandering is Negatively Associated with Attention and Academic Success

Mind Wandering is Negatively Associated with Attention and Academic Success

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mind-wandering–related deficits in performance have been observed in many contexts, most notably reading, tests of sustained attention, and tests of aptitude.” – Sara Briggs

 

We spend a tremendous amount of waking time with our minds wandering and not on the present environment or the task at hand. We daydream, plan for the future, review the past, ruminate on our failures, exalt in our successes. In fact, we spend almost half of our waking hours off task with our mind wandering. Mindfulness is the antithesis of mind wandering. When we’re mindful, we’re paying attention to what is occurring in the present moment. In fact, the more mindful we are the less the mind wanders and mindfulness training reduces mind wandering.

 

You’d think that if we spend so much time with the mind wandering it must be enjoyable. But, in fact research has shown that when our minds are wandering, we are actually less happy than when we are paying attention to what is at hand. There are times when mind wandering may be useful, especially in regard to planning and creative thinking. But, for the most part, it interferes with our concentration on the present moment and what we’re doing and makes us unhappy. There is budding research interest in studying mind wandering and its effects upon academic success.

 

In today’s Research News article “Trait-Level Variability in Attention Modulates Mind Wandering and Academic Achievement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271744/ )  In the first of two experiments, Pereira and colleagues recruited participants online and had them complete measures of overall grade point average, levels of mind wandering, effortful control, orienting sensitivity, and negative emotions. They found that mind wandering was reported to occur 19% of the time. They found that the higher the levels of mind wandering, the lower the levels of effortful control and extraversion, but higher levels of negative emotions. They also found that for participants low in effortful control that mind wandering was associated with lower academic performance while for those high in effortful control mind wandering was associated with better academic performance.

 

In the first experiment they used a self-report measure of mind wandering. In the second experiment they employed an objective measure of mind wandering. They recruited college students and had them complete the same measures as in the first experiment. They then tested them with a visual metronome (tracking) task where response variation is an objective measure of mind wandering. Similar to experiment 1 they found that the higher the levels of mind wandering, the lower the levels of effortful control.

 

The results suggest that one of the key associations of mind wandering is with lower effortful control. Effortful control is a measure of the ability to focus attention. The measure involves agreement with statements such as “I can keep performing a task even when I would rather not do it.” Since the results are correlational it cannot be determined if mind wandering lowers effortful control or if effortful control lowers mind wandering. It will require a manipulative study to determine this. Regardless, the results suggest that mind wandering and effortful control are negatively related and that high effortful control appears to counteract the negative effect of mind wandering on academic performance.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be associated with lower mind wandering and better academic performance. It would be interesting to investigate the ability of mindfulness training to produce changes in effortful control and mind wandering and their relationship with academic performance.

 

So, mind wandering is negatively associated with attention and academic success.

 

mind wandering is related to lecture comprehension, reading, general academic ability, problem solving, and future planning.” – Amy Pachai

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Pereira, E. J., Gurguryan, L., & Ristic, J. (2020). Trait-Level Variability in Attention Modulates Mind Wandering and Academic Achievement. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 909. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00909

 

Abstract

Although mind wandering remains ubiquitous in daily life, the processes that underlie and sustain this behavior remain poorly understood. Across two experiments, we studied the role of intrinsic temperament traits, which shape stable behavioral processes, in moderating the association between mind wandering and the real-life functional outcome of academic success. In Experiment 1, participants completed the Mind Wandering Questionnaire, the Adult Temperament Questionnaire, and reported their grade for the highest degree completed or in progress. Individuals with traits of low Effortful control, high Negative affect, and low Extraversion indicated more mind wandering. Effortful control moderated the relationship between mind wandering and academic success, with higher tendency for mind wandering associated with higher academic achievement for individuals with high Effortful control, and lower academic achievement for those with low Effortful control. Experiment 2 confirmed these links using the visual metronome response task, an objective measure of mind wandering. Together, these results suggest that the intrinsic temperament trait of Effortful control represents one of the key mechanisms behind the functional influence of mind wandering on real-life outcomes. This work places an innate ability to control attention at the very core of real life success, and highlights the need for studying mind wandering through an interdisciplinary lens that brings together cognitive, biological, social, and clinical theories in order to understand the fundamental mechanisms that drive this behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271744/

 

Improve Attention and the Brain Systems Underlying Attention with Meditation

Improve Attention and the Brain Systems Underlying Attention with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

the primary outcome of meditation may be to control attention and internal state in the face of the barrage of stimuli, negative and otherwise, that we experience everyday.” – Aaron D. Nitzkin

 

One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves attention

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. A common method to study the activity of the nervous system is to measure the electrical signal at the scalp above brain regions. Changes in this activity are measurable with mindfulness training.

 

One method to observe attentional processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to specific stimuli. These are called event-related, or evoked, potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The P3 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 2.5 to 5 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The P3 component is thought to reflect attentional processing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Focused attention meditation training modifies neural activity and attention: longitudinal EEG data in non-meditators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7304517/ ) Yoshida and colleagues recruited meditation-naïve college students and randomly assigned them to receive either focused meditation training or relaxation training, listening to classical music. The training occurred once a week for 30 minutes for 8 weeks. They also practiced meditation or relaxation at home for 10 minutes per day. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness. They also had brain activity measured with an electroencephalogram (EEG) before, during and after either a 5-minute meditation or relaxation and while performing an oddball task where they were asked to respond whenever a different tone the usual was presented. The evoked potentials to the tone presentations were recorded.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the relaxation group, the group that received focused meditation training had significantly faster reactions to the target stimuli during the oddball task. The evoked potentials to the oddball stimuli also demonstrated significantly larger P3 potentials in the meditation group. They also report that during meditation there was a significant increase in theta rhythm power in the EEG particularly in the frontal regions of the brain. They also found that only after 8 weeks of meditation training the greater the increase in theta power during meditation the smaller the increase in P3 magnitude during the oddball task.

 

These results suggest that meditation training produces an improvement in attention both behaviorally during the oddball task and also in the brain’s response to the stimuli. The results demonstrated that these changes occurred only after 8 weeks of meditation training and not after relaxation training. That mindfulness training improves attention and the P3 response in the evoked potential has been demonstrated previously.

 

Hence, meditation training in meditation-naïve college students improves attention both in the brain and in behavior. This improved attention should, although not investigated, produce improved performance in college academics. It remains for future research to investigate this hypothesis.

 

So, improve attention and the brain systems underlying attention with meditation.

 

Nondirective meditation yields more marked changes in electrical brain wave activity associated with wakeful, relaxed attention, than just resting without any specific mental technique.” – ScienceDaily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yoshida, K., Takeda, K., Kasai, T., Makinae, S., Murakami, Y., Hasegawa, A., & Sakai, S. (2020). Focused attention meditation training modifies neural activity and attention: longitudinal EEG data in non-meditators. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 15(2), 215–224. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa020

 

Abstract

Focused attention meditation (FAM) is a basic meditation practice that cultivates attentional control and monitoring skills. Cross-sectional studies have highlighted high cognitive performance and discriminative neural activity in experienced meditators. However, a direct relationship between neural activity changes and improvement of attention caused by meditation training remains to be elucidated. To investigate this, we conducted a longitudinal study, which evaluated the results of electroencephalography (EEG) during three-stimulus oddball task, resting state and FAM before and after 8 weeks of FAM training in non-meditators. The FAM training group (n = 17) showed significantly higher P3 amplitude during the oddball task and shorter reaction time (RT) for target stimuli compared to that of the control group (n = 20). Furthermore, a significant negative correlation between F4-Oz theta band phase synchrony index (PSI) during FAM and P3 amplitude during the oddball task and a significant positive correlation between F4-Pz theta band PSI during FAM and P3 amplitude during the oddball task were observed. In contrast, these correlations were not observed in the control group. These findings provide direct evidence of the effectiveness of FAM training and contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the effects of meditation on brain activity and cognitive performance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7304517/

 

Improve Brain Systems Underlying Sustained Attention in Sixth Graders with Mindfulness

Improve Brain Systems Underlying Sustained Attention in Sixth Graders with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“research suggests that mindfulness meditation can increase awareness of our thoughts, or meta-cognitive awareness, as well as regulate emotion, enhance attention and reduce stress. These changes can also be detected in the brain.” – B. Grace Bullock

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance.

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. Hence, it is important to further study the impact of mindfulness training on the development of attentional ability and associated brain mechanisms in elementary school children.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness training preserves sustained attention and resting state anticorrelation between default-mode network and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex: A randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670646/ ) Bauer and colleagues recruited 6th grade students and randomly assigned them to receive 45 minute 4 times per week for 8 weeks mindfulness or computer coding training. They were measured before and after training for sustained attention with a 15-minute go-no-go task and had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

 

They found in comparison to baseline and the computer coding group that the mindfulness training produced a significant improvement in sustained attention (Go accuracy) while the computer coding group had a significant decrease in accuracy. The brain scans revealed an anticorrelation between the Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain and the Central Executive Network (CEN), such that as one becomes active the other becomes less active.

This anticorrelation was related to baseline sustained attention, with better sustained attention correlated with greater anticorrelation. They also found that after mindfulness training the anticorrelation was maintained while it decreased in the computer coding group. In addition, they found that the greater the increase in sustained attention after mindfulness training, the greater the increase in the anticorrelation while this was not true for the compute coding group.

 

The Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain is a set of interconnected brain structures that is thought to be involved in mind wandering, thoughts not related to the task at hand, while the Central Executive Network (CEN) of the brain is a set of interconnected brain structures that is thought to be involved in high level thinking and attention to the task at hand. The anticorrelation between the two systems indicates that as the brain system underlying attention becomes stronger the brain system underlying mind wandering becomes weaker and vice versa. The strengthening of the anticorrelation indicates better neural processing ability by segregating mind wandering from attention, resulting in better sustained attention.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training in 6th graders improves sustained attention by improving the brain systems underlying sustained attention with the greater the improvement in attention the greater the increase in the anticorrelation. These results indicate how mindfulness training may improve attention in these children. They suggest that mindfulness training improves neural processing which in turn improves the children’s attentional ability. Although not investigated, improvement in attention should result in better academic performance.

 

So, improve brain systems underlying sustained attention in sixth graders with mindfulness.

 

a brief 10-min guided mindfulness meditation instruction period can improve executive attentional control even in naïve, inexperienced meditators.” – Catherine Norris

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Bauer, C., Rozenkrantz, L., Caballero, C., Nieto-Castanon, A., Scherer, E., West, M. R., Mrazek, M., Phillips, D. T., Gabrieli, J., & Whitfield-Gabrieli, S. (2020). Mindfulness training preserves sustained attention and resting state anticorrelation between default-mode network and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex: A randomized controlled trial. Human brain mapping, 41(18), 5356–5369. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25197

 

Abstract

Mindfulness training can enhance cognitive control, but the neural mechanisms underlying such enhancement in children are unknown. Here, we conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with sixth graders (mean age 11.76 years) to examine the impact of 8 weeks of school‐based mindfulness training, relative to coding training as an active control, on sustained attention and associated resting‐state functional brain connectivity. At baseline, better performance on a sustained‐attention task correlated with greater anticorrelation between the default mode network (DMN) and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a key node of the central executive network. Following the interventions, children in the mindfulness group preserved their sustained‐attention performance (i.e., fewer lapses of attention) and preserved DMN–DLPFC anticorrelation compared to children in the active control group, who exhibited declines in both sustained attention and DMN–DLPFC anticorrelation. Further, change in sustained‐attention performance correlated with change in DMN–DLPFC anticorrelation only within the mindfulness group. These findings provide the first causal link between mindfulness training and both sustained attention and associated neural plasticity. Administered as a part of sixth graders’ school schedule, this RCT supports the beneficial effects of school‐based mindfulness training on cognitive control.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670646/

 

Improve Attention with Short-Term Loving Kindness Meditation

Improve Attention with Short-Term Loving Kindness Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation practice is associated with enduring improvements in sustained attention,” – Anthony Zanesco

 

There has accumulated a large amount of research demonstrating that mindfulness has significant benefits for psychological, physiological, and spiritual wellbeing. It even improves high level thinking known as executive function and emotion regulation and compassion. One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car.

 

One understudied meditation technique is Loving Kindness Meditation. It is designed to develop kindness and compassion to oneself and others. The individual systematically pictures different individuals from self, to close friends, to enemies and wishes them happiness, well-being, safety, peace, and ease of well-being. Although Loving Kindness Meditation has been practiced for centuries, it has received very little scientific research attention. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the short-term effects of Loving Kindness Meditation on attention.

 

In today’s Research News article “Short-Term Effects of Meditation on Sustained Attention as Measured by fNIRS.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564228/ ) Izzetoglu and colleagues recruited healthy non-meditating college students. During the one session study the participants had their blood pressure and heart rate monitored and functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) sensors placed on their foreheads. “fNIRS is an optics-based brain imaging modality which can measure relative changes in oxygenated (HbO2) and deoxygenated (Hb) hemoglobin using light in the near infrared range (650–950 nm)”. It is thought to measure blood flow from the prefrontal cortex which is involved in high level thinking.

 

The participants were then measured for sustained attention by performing in order the Stroop Color task, the Stroop word task, and then the Stroop Color Word task. These measurements were followed by a guided 22-minute Loving Kindness Meditation practice. After meditation the three sustained attention (Stroop) tasks were repeated. In the color Stroop test names of colors were presented in colors different from the word, e.g. the word RED appears in a blue color. The participants are asked to report the word (naming) or the color of the word ignoring the meaning of the word itself (inhibition) or switch back and forth (Executive function).

 

They found that in comparison to per-meditation, after Loving Kindness Meditation practice there was a significant increase in the speed of responding on the Stroop tasks and reduction in pulse pressure and systolic blood pressure. The fNIRS measure during the Stroop task suggested that after meditation there was a significant increase in blood flow to the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex and area thought to be involved in attentional focus.

 

The study was very short term and there was no control comparison group. So, the results must be interpreted carefully. Nevertheless, they suggest that the immediate effects of Loving Kindness Meditation practice is to improve attentional focus reflected in behavioral performance, physiological relaxation, and brain activity. These short term effects of meditation are compatible with the observed long term effects of Loving Kindness Meditation. This suggests that the long-term effects of the meditation on the physiology and behavior occur due to an accumulation of short-term impacts.

 

So, improve attention with short-term Loving Kindness Meditation.

 

meditation training helps people do better at focusing for a long time on a task that requires them to distinguish small differences between things they see.” – Science Daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

 

Study Summary

 

Izzetoglu, M., Shewokis, P. A., Tsai, K., Dantoin, P., Sparango, K., & Min, K. (2020). Short-Term Effects of Meditation on Sustained Attention as Measured by fNIRS. Brain sciences, 10(9), 608. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090608

 

Abstract

Cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, processing time, perception, and reasoning can be augmented using some type of intervention. Within the broad range of conventional and unconventional intervention methods used in cognitive enhancement, meditation is one of those that is safe, widely practiced by many since ancient times, and has been shown to reduce stress and improve psychological health and cognitive functioning. Various neuroimaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) have shown functional and structural changes due to meditation in different types of meditation practices and on various groups of meditators. Recently, a few studies on meditation have used functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to study the effects of meditation on cerebral hemodynamics. In this study, we examined the short-term effects of loving-kindness (LK) meditation on sustained attention using behavioral performance measures, physiological outcomes, and cognitive activity as measured by fNIRS in first-time meditators during Stroop color word task (SCWT) performance. Our results indicated that behavioral outcomes, assessed mainly on response time (RT) during SCWT performance, showed a significant decrease after meditation. As expected, physiological measures, primarily pulse pressure (PP) measured after meditation dropped significantly as compared to the before meditation measurement. For the hemodynamic measures of oxygenated-hemoglobin (HbO2), deoxygenated-hemoglobin (Hb), and total-hemoglobin (HbT), our findings show significant differences in SCWT performance before and after meditation. Our results suggest that LK meditation can result in improvements in cognitive, physiological, and behavioral outcomes of first-time meditators after a short-term session.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564228/

 

Improve Attention and Memory with Closed-Loop Digital Meditation

Improve Attention and Memory with Closed-Loop Digital Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The good news is that its possible to train your attention and gain the associated benefits, and practicing mindfulness offers one of the most accessible and effective approaches.” – Deborah Schoeberlein David

 

There has accumulated a large amount of research demonstrating that mindfulness has significant benefits for psychological, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. It even improves high level thinking known as executive function and emotion regulation and compassion. One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves attention.

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. One way to observe the effects of meditation is to measure changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG), the rhythmic electrical activity that can be recorded from the scalp. The recorded activity can be separated into frequency bands. Theta activity consists of oscillations in the 4-8 cycles per second band and it thought to measure attention. Another method to observe attentional processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to paying attention. These are called event-related potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The P300 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 1.5 to 5.0 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The P300 component is thought to reflect attentional processes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Closed-loop digital meditation improves sustained attention in young adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534732/ ) Ziegler and colleagues recruited meditation-naïve young adults and randomly assigned them to a placebo control group or to receive 6 weeks of daily online breath following focused meditation training. Initially they meditated for 20 minutes but as they reported greater and greater ability to pay attention to their breath the duration of the meditation increased up to 30 minutes. The placebo control condition was engagement with an online app that was judged by participants to produce expectations equivalent to the meditation app for improvements in sustained attention and working memory. Three online aps were identified and self-selected by the participants of foreign language learning, Tai Chi practice, or logic games. The participants were measured before and after training for sustained attention, distraction filtering, working memory, and accuracy of working memory. They also recoded the electroencephalogram (EEG) during the sustained attention task and recorded the theta rhythm and the P300 evoked potentials to the attention stimuli.

 

They found that in comparison to the placebo group the meditation group had significant increases in sustained attention, distraction filtering, and working memory. In addition, they found that the greater the duration of the meditation practice achieved the greater the improvement in sustained attention. In the EEG they found that the meditation group had significant increases in attention-related EEG measures. In particular, they had increased frontal midline theta rhythm and earlier parietal P300 latencies in the evoked potentials.

 

Previous studies have shown that mindfulness practices produce improvements in attention and memory. An interesting and important difference between this research and prior research is that they employed a control condition that was demonstrated to produce the same degree of expectation in the participants for improvement in attention and memory. In other words. they controlled for participant expectancy, placebo, effects that were not controlled in the prior work. So, the improvements in attention and working memory were likely due to the meditation practice itself. Another interesting difference was that the present results were both in behavioral and brain activity measures. This demonstrates that the effects can be seen in objective, EEG and evoked potential data, and not just in behavioral responses that are more susceptible to bias.

 

So, improve attention and memory with closed-loop digital meditation.

 

mindful attention improves attention regulation, benefits physical and mental health, reduces stress, facilitates emotion regulation, and helps you remove those extra pounds!” – Gavin Khoury

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ziegler, D. A., Simon, A. J., Gallen, C. L., Skinner, S., Janowich, J. R., Volponi, J. J., Rolle, C. E., Mishra, J., Kornfield, J., Anguera, J. A., & Gazzaley, A. (2019). Closed-loop digital meditation improves sustained attention in young adults. Nature human behaviour, 3(7), 746–757. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0611-9

 

Abstract

Attention is a fundamental cognitive process that is critical for essentially all aspects of higher-order cognition and real-world activities. Younger generations have deeply embraced information technology and multitasking in their personal lives, school, and the workplace, creating myriad challenges to their attention. While improving sustained attention in healthy young adults would be beneficial, enhancing this ability has proven notoriously difficult in this age group. Here we show that six-weeks of engagement with a meditation-inspired, closed-loop software program (MediTrain) delivered on mobile devices led to gains in both sustained attention and working memory in healthy young adults (n = 22). These improvements were associated with positive changes in key neural signatures of attentional control (frontal theta inter-trial coherence and parietal P3b latency), as measured by electroencephalography. Our findings suggest the utility of delivering aspects of the ancient practice of focused-attention meditation in a modern, technology-based approach and its benefits on enhancing sustained attention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534732/

 

Become a Better Athlete with Mindfulness

Become a Better Athlete with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“athletes perform better when experiencing flow and that mindfulness meditation for athletes can help them experience flow. This is really good news for high-performance coaches and athletes.” – Ertheo

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of Sports Psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training Enhances Endurance Performance and Executive Functions in Athletes: An Event-Related Potential Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7474752/ ) Nien and colleagues explored the effects of mindfulness training on college athletes. They recruited healthy college athletes who had no experience with mindfulness training and randomly assigned them to either receive mindfulness training or to a wait-list control condition. Mindfulness training consisted of 2 30-minute training sessions per week for 5 weeks and included mindful breathing, mindful meditation, body scanning, mindful yoga, and mindful walking. They were measured before and after the 5-week training period for athletic endurance, cognitive function (Stroop task), and mindfulness. The Stroop Task measures attention, response speed, and behavioral inhibition.

 

To measure the nervous systems processing of information, the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded and evoked potentials to the stimuli onsets were measured during the Stroop Task. They focused on the N2 response in the evoked potential which is a negative going electrical response in the EEG occurring between a 2.0 to 3.5 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The N2 component is thought to reflect attentional monitoring of conflict and inhibitory control.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the athletes who received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness, athletic endurance, and attention and behavioral inhibition accuracies on the Stroop cognitive task. They also found that the mindfulness trained athletes had significantly lower N2 responses in the evoked potential.

 

These are interesting findings but conclusions must be tempered with the knowledge that the comparison condition was passive. This opens the possibility of alternative explanations such as participant expectancy, attention, or bias effects. Nevertheless, the results suggest that mindfulness training improves the athlete’s executive function and endurance. The results of both the Stroop Task and the N2 component of the evoked potential are compatible as each measures the ability to inhibit responses in the face of informational conflict.

 

The mechanisms by which mindfulness training has these effects was not explored in the present study. But previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness training improves executive function including behavioral inhibition. Additionally, previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness training improves the physiological and psychological responses to stress. These improved responses to stress may well explain the increased athletic endurance observed in the mindfulness training athletes as endurance measures the individual’s ability to maintain function under stress.

 

So, become a better athlete with mindfulness.

 

Focus and attention, body awareness and the ability to immerse yourself in the present moment – these are skills in both high-level athletic performance and mindfulness meditation.” – Dave Charny

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Nien, J. T., Wu, C. H., Yang, K. T., Cho, Y. M., Chu, C. H., Chang, Y. K., & Zhou, C. (2020). Mindfulness Training Enhances Endurance Performance and Executive Functions in Athletes: An Event-Related Potential Study. Neural plasticity, 2020, 8213710. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8213710

 

Abstract

Mindfulness interventions have been linked to improved sport performance and executive functions; however, few studies have explored the effects of mindfulness on sport performance and executive functions simultaneously. This study sought to examine whether a mindfulness training program would affect both the endurance performance and executive functions of athletes. In addition, event-related potentials (ERPs) associated with the Stroop task were assessed to investigate the potential electrophysiological activation associated with the mindfulness training. Applying a quasiexperimental design, forty-six university athletes were recruited and assigned into a five-week mindfulness training program or a waiting list control group. For each participant, the mindfulness level, endurance performance assessed by a graded exercise test, executive functions assessed via Stroop task, and N2 component of ERPs were measured prior to and following the 5-week intervention. After adjusting for the preintervention scores as a covariate, it was found that the postintervention mindfulness level, exhaustion time, and Stroop task accuracy scores, regardless of task condition, of the mindfulness group were higher than those of the control group. The mindfulness group also exhibited a smaller N2 amplitude than the control group. These results suggest that the five-week mindfulness program can enhance the mindfulness level, endurance performance, and multiple cognitive functions, including executive functions, of university athletes. Mindfulness training may also reduce conflict monitoring in neural processes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7474752/

 

Meditate to Alter the Brain and Overcome Attention and Hyperactivity Problems Resulting from Childhood Neglect

Meditate to Alter the Brain and Overcome Attention and Hyperactivity Problems Resulting from Childhood Neglect

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Without appropriate clinical interventions, individuals exposed to relational trauma in childhood are at greater risk for difficulties in adult relationships and parenting.” At present, there is not much in the way of treatment for individual adults who have experienced childhood maltreatment: this study shows that mindfulness could help change that.” – Emily Nauman

 

Child maltreatment is the abuse and neglect that occurs to children under 18 years of age. It includes all types of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and commercial or other exploitation, which results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.” (World Health Organization, 2016)

 

Childhood neglect is traumatic and can leave in its wake symptoms which can haunt the victims for the rest of their lives. These include cognitive impairments such as attentional difficulties, difficulty concentrating, and hyperactivity. Unfortunately, childhood neglect can continue to affect mental and physical health throughout the individual’s life. Fortunately, mindfulness training has been found to help. Indeed, mindfulness has been found to be effective for relieving trauma symptoms even in adults who were maltreated in childhood..

 

In today’s Research News article “Closed-loop digital meditation for neurocognitive and behavioral development in adolescents with childhood neglect.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235252/) Mishra and colleagues recruited adolescents (aged 10-18 years) who had experienced childhood neglect. They were randomly assigned to either a no-treatment control condition or to receive over the internet 30 sessions over 6 weeks of 30 minutes of either breath following meditation or attention to sensory information video games. They were measured before and after training and one year later for sustained attention, attention with distractors, inattention behaviors, hyperactivity, and academic performance. They also had their brains scanned with Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment and the attention to sensory information groups, the breath following meditation group after treatment had significant increases in attentional ability, both sustained and with distractors and a significant improvement in academic performance. In addition, the breath following meditation groups had a significant decrease in hyperactivity at the 1-year follow-up. The resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) revealed that the greater the level of childhood neglect experienced by the adolescents the lower the functional connectivity of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. After treatment only the breath following meditation group had a significant increase in the functional connectivity of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the greater the increase in connectivity the greater the improvements in sustained attention and hyperactivity.

 

These are interesting and potentially important findings. Childhood neglect appears to result in impairments in the connectivity of a key brain area involved in regulating attention, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. This could explain why neglected children have a higher likelihood of developing attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder in adolescents. Importantly, training in breath following meditation appears to some extent reverse the loss of functional connectivity and the attentional and hyperactivity symptoms of the adolescents and result in improved performance in school. Hence, training in breath following meditation may be very helpful in preventing childhood neglect from producing ADHD in adolescents and impairing their academic performance.

 

Another important aspect of the present study was that the treatment was provided over the internet. This greatly increases its availability, convenience, and utility and reduces cost. So, the treatment can be cost effectively scaled up to treat large numbers of adolescents scattered over wide geographic regions. This makes it available to adolescents who are neither near a therapist or can afford therapy.

 

Hence, meditate to alter the brain and overcome attention and hyperactivity problems resulting from childhood neglect.

 

The absence of emotional support in childhood can be as damaging and long-lasting as other traumas. But, because you can’t point to exactly where and when the wounding happened, it can be hard to identify and overcome it.” – Andrea Brandt

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/

They are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mishra, J., Sagar, R., Parveen, S., Kumaran, S., Modi, K., Maric, V., Ziegler, D., & Gazzaley, A. (2020). Closed-loop digital meditation for neurocognitive and behavioral development in adolescents with childhood neglect. Translational psychiatry, 10(1), 153. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0820-z

 

Abstract

Adverse childhood experiences are linked to poor attentive behaviors during adolescence, as well as increased risk for mental health disorders in adults. However, no study has yet tested targeted interventions to optimize neurocognitive processes in this population. Here, we investigated closed-loop digital interventions in a double-blind randomized controlled study in adolescents with childhood neglect, and evaluated the outcomes using multimodal assessments of neuroimaging, cognitive, behavioral, and academic evaluations. In the primary neuroimaging results, we demonstrate that a closed-loop digital meditation intervention can strengthen functional connectivity of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) in the cingulo-opercular network, which is critically developing during the adolescent period. Second, this intervention enhanced sustained attention and interference-resolution abilities, and also reduced behavioral hyperactivity at a 1-year follow-up. Superior academic performance was additionally observed in adolescents who underwent the digital meditation intervention. Finally, changes in dACC functional connectivity significantly correlated with improvements in sustained attention, hyperactivity, and academic performance. This first study demonstrates that closed-loop digital meditation practice can facilitate development of important aspects of neurocognition and real-life behaviors in adolescents with early childhood neglect.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235252/

 

Improve Primary School Students’ Attention and Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Primary School Students’ Attention and Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For kids who have suffered from prolonged stress or trauma, mindfulness seems to offer a way of “short-circuiting” the fight-or-flight response. It helps kids with the greatest self-regulation challenges adapt to slower, more methodical classroom settings.” – Amanda Moreno

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. It is here that behaviors, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are developed that shape the individual. But what is absorbed depends on the environment. If it is replete with speech, the child will learn speech, if it is replete with trauma, the child will learn fear, if it is replete with academic skills the child will learn these, and if it is replete with interactions with others, the child will learn social skills.

 

Elementary school environments have a huge effect on development. They are also excellent times to teach children the skills to adaptively negotiate its environment. Mindfulness training in school, at all levels has been shown to have very positive effects. These include academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve the student’s self-concept. It also improves attentional ability and reduces stress, which are keys to successful learning in school. Since, what occurs in the early years of school can have such a profound, long-term effect on the child it is important to further study the impact of mindfulness training on the development of thinking skills in elementary school children.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Attention, Self-Control, and Aggressiveness in Primary School Pupils.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178275/), Suárez-García and colleagues recruited two 3rd grade primary school classes with children between the ages of 7 to 10 years. One class received 8 weekly mindfulness training sessions with 10 minutes of daily practice. At the end of the 8 weeks of training for the first class, the second class received the mindfulness training. They were measured before and after each intervention for intellectual ability and attentional ability. In addition, the teachers were asked to evaluate the children for attentional problems, self-control deficits, and aggressiveness.

 

They found that in comparison to the control classroom and the baseline the mindfulness trained children had significant reductions in attentional problems and self-control deficits. The second class after their mindfulness training also showed significant reductions in attentional problems and self-control deficits. No significant changes in aggressiveness were observed.

 

The results are similar to findings with adults that mindfulness training improves attention and self-control and that mindfulness training can be successfully implemented in schools producing improvements in attentional ability. The findings that mindfulness training in 3rd grade classrooms can also improve attention and self-control is important as these abilities are essential to the education of the students. The improvements would also contribute to better management of the classroom. Changes in academic progress were not measured. But the results suggest that the children would perform better in school after mindfulness training.

 

So, improve primary school students’ attention and behavior with mindfulness.

 

for students specifically, mindfulness has been shown to improve cognitive performance, so students can focus and concentrate better.” – Anya Kamenetz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts arealso available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Suárez-García, Z., Álvarez-García, D., García-Redondo, P., & Rodríguez, C. (2020). The Effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Attention, Self-Control, and Aggressiveness in Primary School Pupils. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(7), 2447. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072447

 

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effect of Mindkeys Training, a mindfulness-based educational intervention, on attention, self-control, and aggressiveness in third-year primary school pupils. In order to achieve this aim, a switching replications design was used. Two groups of third year primary students (nGE1 = 40; nGE2 = 33), aged between 7 and 10 years old (M = 8.08; DT = 0.49), had the intervention at different time points, such that while one served as the experimental group, the other served as the control group. Longitudinal differences were examined in both groups, and cross-sectional differences were examined between the two groups at three time points; at the start of the study, and following the intervention with each group. To that end, measurements of problems of attention, deficits of self-control, and aggressiveness for students were obtained via a teacher rating scale. The intervention program demonstrated a positive effect on the reduction of pupils’ attention problems, deficits of self-control, and aggressiveness. The effects were greater on the cognitive variables that the intervention worked on directly (attention and self-control). Attention was the variable on which the intervention exhibited the longest term effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178275/