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Review
, 333 (6045), 959-64

Interventions Shown to Aid Executive Function Development in Children 4 to 12 Years Old

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Review

Interventions Shown to Aid Executive Function Development in Children 4 to 12 Years Old

Adele Diamond et al. Science.

Abstract

To be successful takes creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. Central to all those are executive functions, including mentally playing with ideas, giving a considered rather than an impulsive response, and staying focused. Diverse activities have been shown to improve children's executive functions: computerized training, noncomputerized games, aerobics, martial arts, yoga, mindfulness, and school curricula. All successful programs involve repeated practice and progressively increase the challenge to executive functions. Children with worse executive functions benefit most from these activities; thus, early executive-function training may avert widening achievement gaps later. To improve executive functions, focusing narrowly on them may not be as effective as also addressing emotional and social development (as do curricula that improve executive functions) and physical development (shown by positive effects of aerobics, martial arts, and yoga).

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
A teen working at a CogMed© game.
Figure 2
Figure 2
A child demonstrating a Tae-Kwon-Do stance.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Walking Meditation in Montessori can be simply walking on a line, walking on it without spilling water in a spoon or without letting your bell ring.

Comment in

  • Martial arts research: prudent skepticism.
    Strayhorn JM, Strayhorn JC. Strayhorn JM, et al. Science. 2011 Oct 21;334(6054):310; author reply 311. doi: 10.1126/science.334.6054.310-b. Science. 2011. PMID: 22021837 No abstract available.
  • Martial arts research: weak evidence.
    Mercer J. Mercer J. Science. 2011 Oct 21;334(6054):310-1; author reply 311. doi: 10.1126/science.334.6054.310-c. Science. 2011. PMID: 22021838 No abstract available.

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