Does the type of play observed during lunchtime influence executive function in primary school children?

Hier, Bethany (2016) Does the type of play observed during lunchtime influence executive function in primary school children? Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Introduction: Research has suggested that executive function (EF) is related to academic achievement in primary school children. Participation in play, such as imaginative (IP), exercise (EP) or free play (FP), has been found to enhance EF. However, it is not clear which form is most beneficial for enhancing EF in primary school children. Aim: The aim of this study was to examine changes in EF following participation in IP, EP, and FP. Method: 7 boys and 9 girls aged 7±1 yrs randomly completed an IP, EP and FP (control) condition during lunchtime for a period of 30 mins. The flanker task (FT) (Eriksen & Eriksen, 1974) was implemented as a measure of EF. A pre-test of the FT was completed 15 mins prior to, and a post-test 15 mins following each condition. The IP condition were provided with instructions (appendix I), and encouraged to create an imaginary situation. The EP condition participated in a structured exercise session with a focus on intensity and enjoyment (appendix H). The FP condition were given no instruction, but encouraged to play as they would during a usual lunchtime. Mean ± standard deviation (SD) activity counts per minute (CPM), and time (min) spent in sedentary, light, lifestyle, moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity exercise were recorded in each condition. Main results: The EP condition had a significantly greater mean CPM than the IP (p < 0.001) and FP (p = 0.007) conditions, along with a significantly greater time (min) spent in vigorous intensity activity than the IP (p < 0.001) and FP (p = 0.002). No significant changes were observed in FT score in the IP or FP condition. However, FT score improved by 9.4% from the pre-test to post-test in the EP condition (p = 0.008). Conclusion: The only condition to significantly improve in EF was EP. This coincided with a greater volume of time spent in vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity, potentially influenced by the direct presence of the experimenter. However, further research is needed to determine whether this is a result of increased vigorous intensity exercise, or a greater level of contextual interference. Yet despite this, it is concluded that the implementation of EP during lunchtime may subsequently assist in enhancing academic achievement within primary schools.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BSc (Hons.) Sport & Exercise Science (Physical Activity for Health)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Departments > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2016 09:06
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 09:06

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