Effect of Mindfulness Practices on Executive Functions of Elementary School Students
Objective: The present study aimed to investigate effectiveness of mindfulness exercises on the executive functions of elementary school students.
Methods: To this end, 32 female students of second and third grade were selected by cluster sampling method with regard to inclusion criteria (having average IQ, being right-handed) and exclusion criteria (having physical and mental illness, or psychological and psychiatric interventions) and randomly assigned in experimental (mean±SD age; 97.12±3.48 mo) and
control groups (mean±SD age; 96.18±3.33 mo). Then, the experimental group participated in 8 sessions of mindfulness exercise (each session, 1 h), but control group received no intervention. Before and after intervention, all participants took working memory test, continuous performance test, and Wisconsin card sorting test. Finally, the obtained data were analyzed by ANCOVA with SPSS 21 software.
Results: Our findings showed that mindfulness had significant effect on forward and backward memory as well as total score of memory (P<0.01). Also, findings showed that mindfulness improved perseveration dimension of cognitive flexibility (P<0.05). Finally, mindfulness could somewhat improve response time of attention (P<0.01).
Conclusion: These findings are consistent with previous research in which the effectiveness of mindfulness on executive functions was approved, though in some dimensions of our variables, the effects were not significant which might be due to the limited sessions of training.