Concentrative meditation : some psychological effects with children



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Meditation, as conceptualized in this study, is essentially an attentional device incorporating elements of relaxation, concentration and guided imagery. The study is designed to explore these possibilities: the capacity to learn may be enhanced by concentrating on one thing for an extended period of time; the self-control engendered could also lead to a more internal locus of control; through the consistent practice of meditation children might enhance their own self-concept and their capacity for empathy; and openness to inner experience fostered by meditation could expand their creative imagination. In order to explore these questions-of attention, locus of control, self-concept, empathy and creativity-children at ages 7 years +/- 6 months, 9 years +/- 6 months and 11 years +/- 6 months were trained in meditation and relaxation exercises. A third group at each age was involved in math games. The training took place in these three conditions in a schedule of 20 minutes three times a week for seven weeks. Prior to training the children were interviewed for their understanding of concepts related to each of the three training groups. They were also interviewed as to their motivations and expectations relevant to the training. The children were pretested on the following measures: the Matching Familiar Figures Tests measured attention effects; the Nowicki-Strickland Scale (with the Nowicki-Duke Scale for the children 7 years +/- 6 months) measured locus of control; the Piers-Harris Scale measured self-concept for the children 11 years +/- 6 months while the McDaniel-Piers Young Children's Self-Concept Scale was used for the two younger-aged groups; An Index for Empathy for Children and Adolescents measured the affective empathy in the three age groups; and the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, Figural Forms A & B, measured the figural creativity for all ages. After the training posttests of these measures were administered. Videotapes were taken of the children in the 3 training groups during the beginning, middle, and terminal portions of the training. Each child had the opportunity to share his experiences of his respective training in a final interview. [...]



Meditation, Child psychology