Train your Mind (TyM)

Ph.D researcher: Joachim Bervoets

Supervisor: Gerjo Kok, Hein de Vries

Co-researchers: Lisa Jonkman, Sandra Mulkens

Funding: Provincie Limburg

Objective:  TyM was designed to enhance Executive Functions (EFs) among elementary school children. Stronger EFs could translate to daily life as healthier eating, more exercise, better attention and social relations, improved academic performance and self-control. The effectiveness and implementation of TyM was rigorously investigated in an RCT of 800 children.

TyM consists of focused exercise, cognitive training, socio-emotional development, and eHealth.

Method: RCT of 800 children, 33 groups, 13 schools. Half received the intervention TyM for 6 months. Everyone is measured right before and after the intervention. Outcome measures: EFs (computer task battery), attention and emotion-regulation (questionnaires), BMI, and academic performance (standardized national academic test; CITO). Implementation, fidelity, completeness, and dose are also evaluated.

Results: No quantitative results yet. Qualitative evaluation: overall, intervention was well-received. Cognitive games were experienced as best component, focused exercise in the form of kungfu was too complicated to be delivered by the teachers themselves and had to be cancelled after two months. Some technical hindrances were experienced with eHealth and the online individual cognitive training, which affected adherence negatively. Despite exclusively positive feedback during pilot-testing, eHealth was found to have too much text. Breathing exercises (part of socio-emotional development) were liked and even integrated by children themselves. Despite some difficulties and some time-constraints, both teachers and children did enjoy working with the material. Most of the teachers managed to deliver the entire program (minus the focused exercise).

Publications:  None so far.