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Impact of a mindfulness-based school curriculum on emotion processing in Vietnamese pre-adolescents: An event-related potentials study

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JournalDevelopmental Science
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Feb 2022
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 24 Mar 2022
Number of pages20
Early online date24/03/22
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The neurocognitive mechanisms associated with mindfulness training in children are not well understood. This randomised controlled study with active and passive control groups examined the impact of an 18-week mindfulness curriculum delivered by schoolteachers on emotion processing in Vietnamese 7- to 11-year-olds. Event-related potential markers indexed emotion processing while children were completing emotional Go/No-Go tasks before and after mindfulness training, and at 6-month follow-up. In an oddball Go/No-Go task with Caucasian faces no changes in P3b and LPP components were detected, but in a Go/No-Go task with Caucasian and Japanese faces changes were observed in P3b latencies and LPP mean amplitudes. Specifically, the P3b in response to angry non-targets for Japanese faces peaked later in the mindfulness training group (TG) at 6-months follow-up in comparison to the non-intervention control group (NCG). The LPP mean amplitudes for averaged Caucasian and Japanese angry non-targets were also attenuated in the TG at 6-month follow-up. In contrast, no changes in the LPP mean amplitudes were observed for the NCG over time. Together, these findings may indicate that mindfulness training in pre-adolescents enhances emotional non-reactivity to negative distractors. A fluctuating pattern of LPP mean amplitude modulations for angry targets was observed in the active control group (ACG) receiving social-emotional learning (SEL) training. Overall, findings from this study suggest that mindfulness training in pre-adolescents enhances emotional non-reactivity to negative distractors and some of the effects are culturally sensitive.

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