Mindfulness (MF) is the self-regulation of attention, including sustained attention, switching attention between tasks, and the inhibition of elaborative processing. Another type of attentional skill not specifically targeted in this definition, but that might benefit from MF training, is control over working memory (WM), a type of executive attention: the ability to use attention to maintain or suppress short-term representations of information. Greater WM capacity also means an increased ability to use attention to overcome distraction and is predictive of performance on higher-order cognitive tasks. In this study, I hypothesized that, after eleven weeks of MF training, participants would have improved scores in attention and WM, compared to a control group. Eight elementary classrooms from an urban Title I school in the southwestern United States participated. Four classroom teachers were trained on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and on teaching MF practices in their classrooms. Four teachers were assigned as control classrooms. Pre-, middle- and post-measures were collected from students on attention and WM span. Results tentatively indicate that MF improves attention switching, divided attention, and WM processing.
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First Committee Member (Chair)
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Attention in children, Memory in children, Short-term memory, Executive functions (Neuropsychology), Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Keller, Julia. "Mindfulness in education : the impact of mental training on attention and working memory in children." (2012). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/psy_etds/73