Michelle Kennedy's Confirmation Presentation

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Michelle Kennedy's Confirmation Presentation

We invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Michelle Kennedy, a Master of Arts candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

Title: Does anxiousness impact on memory, to the detriment of learning, and can the intervention of mindfulness reduce this impact?  

Presenter: Michelle Kennedy

When: Tuesday 23 October 12:30-2:30pm

Where: Thompson Institute 1.02

Abstract: Children’s acquisition of knowledge is underpinned by various cognitive processes enabling the processing of interactions and experiences of the world around them. Development of these processes can be impacted by anxiety, producing a cognitive breakdown in areas such as focus and attention. With the recent government report “Australia’s Health 2018” listing anxiety as the number one mental health disorder for girls aged 4-17 years, it is of concern the potential impact anxiety has on children’s daily functioning. In particular children’s relationships with family and friends and school learning outcomes are compromised.

Children experiencing anxiety or anxiousness often have focus and attention issues in school. Such issues if ongoing, may result in diagnosis of an attention disorder. An alternate cause of attention issues may be anxiousness as when the brain is threatened, areas related to important cognitive processes such as focus and attention cease to function effectively.

The age range for the study being middle childhood (ages 9-11), was selected based on various cognitive processes beginning to consolidate. More importantly metacognition, considered a key cognitive process begins to develop in middle childhood. Being defined as thinking about one’s thinking, metacognition has been linked to worry, a key symptom of anxiety when excessive and out of control. Metacognitive awareness in children has been shown to focus attention on worrisome thoughts rather than their learning.

Understanding how the brain’s structures and associated circuits impact on cognitive processes should assist teachers, clinicians and parents in empowering children to implement strategies improving their focus and attention. This study will use a psychophysiological approach to determine the underlying neural mechanisms of anxiousness and attention and the correlation to observed psychological symptoms.

Bio: Michelle is a Doctoral candidate at the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience - Thompson Institute and Educational Consultant at Engaged Learners. Her supervisors are Prof Jim Lagopoulos and Prof Daniel Hermens. Michelle has a Diploma of Teaching, Bachelor of Education and Masters of Education, having extensive teaching experience in primary schools in Queensland and England. This experience highlighted how children’s attention and subsequent learning outcomes can be negatively impacted by anxiousness. The PhD study has developed from the extant literature as well as her experience with children aged 6-12 years whose learning appears to have been impacted by anxiousness.

Should you have any questions about this event please contact FABLHDR@usc.edu.au.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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