Assessing the changes in brain structure and function of school-based mindfulness

Clemens Bauer Hoss, Ph.D, Fiona Jensen, John Gabrieli, Ph.D, Bob Jensen, Katie Medlar

Clemens Bauer Hoss, Ph.D, Fiona Jensen, John Gabrieli, Ph.D, Bob Jensen, Katie Medlar

 

This year Calmer Choice is collaborating with Professor John Gabrieli at MIT and Boston Collegiate Charter School (BCCS) to understand the principles of brain changes in children after an intensive mindfulness intervention. Driven by this interest to understand rigorously the promise Mindfulness has shown in the growing cognitive science literature, the Gablab@MIT is running a randomized controlled trial with all BCCS 6th graders to examine the impact of an 8-week Mindfulness course on brain function and behavior.

 

The goals of this study are two-fold: First, to test the feasibility of a Mindfulness program in an urban middle-school school environment and second, evaluate the impact this has on brain function, structure, and psychological outcomes (i.e. emotional, conduct, hyperactivity, interpersonal relationship,  prosocial behavior, and attention) of the students.


In partnership with the Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute at MIT, the study is using cutting edge brain imaging (functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging) and exploratory neuropsych behavioral tests to evaluate the impact of this program and contribute to advance the understanding of the underlying mechanisms that enhance self-awareness and self-regulation of attention, emotions, and behavior in these children as a result of Mindfulness.