Publication Date

Fall 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Human Factors/Ergonomics

Advisor

Emily H. Wughalter

Keywords

Acute physical exercise, Executive performance, Mindfulness meditation, Muse headband, Neurofeedback, Stroop

Subject Areas

Cognitive psychology; Kinesiology; Information science

Abstract

Empirical research has demonstrated that acute aerobic physical exercise, neurofeedback, and mindfulness meditation independently have positive effects on executive performance. Technology has enabled a new intervention that combines neurofeedback and mindfulness meditation; however its effects on executive function are unknown. The aim in the present study was to understand how executive function may be enhanced in healthy individuals. Forty-two participants were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups: acute physical exercise, mindfulness meditation, or mindfulness meditation neurofeedback delivered via the Muse brain-sensing headband. Participants completed 50 trials of the Stroop task, a well-established measure of executive function. A statistically significant one-way ANOVA revealed that participants made fewer errors after undergoing the mindfulness meditation neurofeedback intervention than they did following acute physical exercise. These findings demonstrate that mindfulness meditation neurofeedback may boost aspects of executive function that relate to lower Stroop task error rates.

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