How does mindfulness modulate self-regulation in pre-adolescent children? An integrative neurocognitive review

Rebekah Jane Kaunhoven, Dusana Dorjee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pre-adolescence is a key developmental period in which complex intrinsic volitional methods of self-regulation are acquired as a result of rapid maturation within the brain networks underlying the self-regulatory processes of attention control and emotion regulation. Fostering adaptive self-regulation skills during this stage of development has strong implications for physical health, emotional and socio-economic outcomes during adulthood. There is a growing interest in mindfulness-based programmes for pre-adolescents with initial findings suggesting self-regulation improvements, however, neurodevelopmental studies on mindfulness with pre-adolescents are scarce. This analytical review outlines an integrative neuro-developmental approach, which combines self-report and behavioural assessments with event related brain potentials (ERPs) to provide a systemic multilevel understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms of mindfulness in pre-adolescence. We specifically focus on the N2, error related negativity (ERN), error positivity (Pe), P3a, P3b and late positive potential (LPP) ERP components as indexes of mindfulness related modulations in non-volitional bottom-up self-regulatory processes (salience detection, stimulus driven orienting and mind wandering) and volitional top-down self-regulatory processes (endogenous orienting and executive attention).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-184
Number of pages22
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue numberPt A
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017, Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Brain
  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness
  • Journal Article
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Mechanisms
  • Theory
  • Attention control
  • Pre-adolescents
  • Neurocognitive
  • Emotion regulation
  • Self-regulation
  • Event-related potential
  • Neuroscience
  • Development
  • Children

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