Term of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Ty Boyer

Committee Member 1

Nicolette Rickert

Committee Member 2

Antonio Guitierrez


Executive function is an umbrella term used in psychology to define a number of cognitive processes that are important for success in daily life. Both self-awareness, being able to focus one’s thoughts and behavior, and self-regulation, being able to manage emotional and behavioral responses, are important components of executive function. Between three- and five-years of age, children begin developing such skills rapidly which are necessary for school readiness. This study recruited children participants from four local preschools to test for improvement in attention and self-regulatory skills. Two schools completed a mindful yoga activity for five consecutive days, while a second set of two schools completed a control gratitude activity. Children were measured pre- and post- activity on two executive function tasks. Data was analyzed using 2 x 2 mixed model ANOVAs, with group (intervention classrooms and control classrooms) analyzed between-groups and test phase (pre- versus post-test) analyzed as a repeated measure, with performance on Go/No-go task and Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes (HSKT) tasks as the dependent measures. Results were predicted to align with previous work on mindfulness interventions, yet no significant interactions were found between test-phase and test-group. This current study provides this field a new opportunity for expansion in the use of short-term mindfulness interventions and preschool executive functioning. Future research could continue to expand on short- and long-term implementation of such mindfulness intervention strategies by investigating further potential improved preschool executive functioning.

Research Data and Supplementary Material