Recent years have seen a proliferation of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in K-12 educational settings. Scientific inquiry of MBIs in adults suggests beneficial effects on a wide range of cognitive and socio-emotional processes. In line with these findings, MBIs studies in K-12 settings have reported a reduction in behavioral difficulties, psychopathological symptoms, executive function (EF) and attention difficulties, and improvement in prosocial behavior and socio-emotional competence- all critical for the child well-being and academic success. Although preschool is a critical period marked by substantial development in self-regulatory and EF skills, only few studies examined the effect of MBIs in this age. Despite the promising findings, a more thorough examination of MBIs in preschoolers and pinpointing the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects in this population is needed. Here we aimed at providing neurobiological evidence for the hypothesized improvement in EF and prosocial skills in preschool children (4-6 years old) using behavioral measures and Evoked-Related-Potentials (ERPs). This study is the first to examine the neurophysiological effects of MBIs in preschoolers, enabling investigation of the neurobiological relations between EF and pro-social skills as well as future academic achievements (language and literacy abilities), and providing biomarkers for the effects of MBI in this young population.

Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, PhD

Educational Neuroimaging Center Technion, Haifa, Israel / Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center