Research  Improving executive function

Mind in Focus

Problem: Low income adults are more likely to experience stress, which can interfere with cognitive function.  Does a relaxation exercise improve cognitive function?


Participants include 118 low income and 115 higher income adults.

Several treatment arms to test combinations of non-financial stressors and relaxation exercises.

Stress measured by heart rate variability.


No difference in physiological or perceived stress between low and higher income participants.

Relaxation exercises increases executive function of poor but not non-poor participants and reduced their perceived stress.

Perceived stress was a better predictor than physiological stress of executive function.

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Mind in Focus Overview