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Changes on Measures of Executive Function

Richard Chambers

To determine whether the meditation course successfully enhanced participants executive function capacities in the predicted directions (Hypothesis 4), participants' scores before and after the intervention (at T1 and T2) on the DSB and the IST were analysed.

DSB. Figure 7 represents the mean DSB scores, for each group, at T1 and T2. The meditators demonstrated a highly significant increase over the course of the intervention (t[19] = -3.97, p < .001, d = -.71), while the nonmeditators demonstrated no significant change (t[19] = -.92, p = .91, d = -.02).

Mean DSB scores for meditators and nonmeditators at T1 and T2.  Error bars represent one standard error.

There was a highly significant main effect of time (F[1,38] = 8.75, p = .005, ╬À2 = .19), a nonsignificant main effect of group (F[1,38] = .52, p = .48, ╬À2 = .01), and a highly significant time by group interaction (F[1,38] = 7.81, p = .008, ╬À2 = .17).

IST. One participant was discovered to be a multivariate outlier and removed from the analyses of the IST.

An omnibus ANOVA comparing participants reactions times across time (T1 vs. T2), condition (neutral vs. affective), and trial-type (switch vs. nonswitch), with a between group factors of group (meditators vs. non-meditators), revealed significant main effects of time (F[1,38] = 18.83, p < .001, ╬À2 = .34), condition (F[1,38] = 37.44, p < .001, ╬À2 = .50), trial-type (F[1,38] = 115.82, p < .001, ╬À2 = .76), and significant interaction effects of condition by group (F[1,38] = 4.68, p = .04, ╬À2 = .11), condition by time (F[1,38] = 8.89, p = .005, ╬À2 = .19) and time by group (F[1,38] = 4.80, p = .04, ╬À2 = .11). Table 3 summarises the mean reaction times for each group, on each trial-type, for each condition, at T1 and T2.

Figure 8 represents the group by condition interaction effect (i.e. collapsed across time and trial-type), indicating that the meditators' demonstrated significantly larger RTs in the affective condition, relative to the neutral condition, than did the nonmeditators.

Figure 9 represents the group by time interaction effect (i.e. collapsed across condition and trial-type), indicating that the meditators' overall RTs significantly improved from T1 to T2, whereas the nonmeditators did not.

Table 3

Mean RTs (ms) for each Group, on each Condition (Neutral vs. Affective), for each Trial-Type (Switch vs. Nonswitch), at T1 and T2


Meditators (n = 20) Nonmeditators (n = 20)
Measure Mean SD Mean SD
Time 1
Neutral
Switch 2022.12 458.64 2075.77 533.22
Nonswitch 1750.65 423.65 1728.65 357.27
Affective
Switch 2571.39 735.85 2316.53 651.12
Nonswitch 2244.92 685.15 1992.8 621.39
Time 2
Neutral
Switch 1717.2 383.32 1962.18 436.76
Nonswitch 1467.71 363.7 1618.86 301.22
Affective
Switch 2057.84 334.32 2072.26 523.43
Nonswitch 1756.76 359.12 1758.75 436.8
Mean RTs for meditators and nonmeditators in the neutral and affective conditions,
 collapsed across time (T1 and T2) and trial-type (switch versus nonswitch).  Error bars represent one standard error.
Mean RTs for meditators and nonmeditators at T1 and T2,
 collapsed across conditions (neutral and affective) and trial-type (switch versus nonswitch).  Error bars represent one standard error.

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