Saturday, September 7, 2013

MINDFULNESS TRAINING IMPROVES CHILDREN’S ATTENTION SPAN

Yet another study has found that even a small amount of training in mindfulness improves children's attention span, in particular, their ability to ignore distractions and concentrate better.

These are the findings of a recent study carried out by Dominic Crehan and Dr Michelle Ellefson at the University of Cambridge and presented at the British Psychological Society's Cognitive Developmental Psychology Annual Conference at the University of Reading.


‘Mindfulness involves paying attention in a particular way---on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally,’ says Crehan. ‘It has been shown to reduce levels of stress and depression, and to improve feelings of well-being, but to date researchers have not established a link between mindfulness and attention skills in children.’

The researchers recruited 30 children (girls and boys aged 10 to 11 years old) to take part in a mindfulness course as part of their school curriculum. The children took part in the mindfulness course in 2 groups at different times, and so the researchers were able to compare the groups and see the effects of the course. To do this, they measured the children's levels of mindfulness using a questionnaire. They also measured their attention skills, using a computer game designed specifically for this purpose. They made these measurements on three occasions, at three month intervals, so that they could measure changes in attention skills over time as a result of the mindfulness course. The results indicated that an improvement in the children's ability to focus and deal with distractions was associated with the mindfulness course.


‘The ability to pay attention in class is crucial for success at school,’ says Crehan. ‘Mindfulness appears to have an effect after only a short training course, which the children thoroughly enjoyed. Through their training, the children actually learn to watch their minds working and learn to control their attention. These findings could be particularly important for helping children with attention difficulties such as ADHD.’


Resource: British Psychological Society (BPS) (2013, September 5). Mindfulness training improves attention in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 7, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2013/09/130905202847.htm

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