Brain Gym Studies

Click here to download the Brain Gym Studies Packet.

Research FAQ

  1. Does Brain Gym® International have research on the effects of the Brain Gym activities?
  2. What books or other sources will give me research on the validity of using movement to support the learning process?
  3. What’s the difference between the two kinds of research studies in your chronology of annotated research studies?
  4. Is the foundation’s research on the Brain Gym® movements and processes scientific?
  5. Does the foundation sponsor research?
  6. Why isn’t there more quantitative research?
  7. Why aren’t there more peer-reviewed articles?
  8. What value is there in small classroom studies like the ones mentioned in the chronology?
  9. Isn’t quantitative, peer-reviewed research a standard requirement for any program used in schools?
  10. What kinds of factors are usually measured in Brain Gym research?

Does Brain Gym® International have research on the effects of the Brain Gym activities?
Yes, we offer three primary publications that summarize our research: (1) A Chronology of Annotated Research Study Summaries in the Field of Educational Kinesiology, on the braingym.org website, offers summaries of research studies done by a number of our instructors through the last twenty years. (2) The Brain Gym® Global Observer, formerly the Brain Gym® Journal, published three times yearly, offers in-depth articles as well as reports of an anecdotal, statistical, or theoretical nature, written by instructors about their use of the Brain Gym program in diverse settings. (3) The Research Packet offers expanded abstracts of some of the studies in the Research Chronology.

Many books also detail the effects of learning on movement.
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What books or other sources will give me research on the validity of using movement to support the learning process?
Here are a few good examples from the many existing resources:

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What’s the difference between the two kinds of research studies in your chronology of annotated research studies?
The foundation’s existing studies are categorized under two research designs: Experimental (with three subcategories) and Descriptive (with two subcategories). The difference between these two has largely to do with the method of data collection and how the research is set up to isolate a particular variable. As you can imagine, the more stringent the methodology, the less room there is for human error. Yet those who conduct research studies on Brain Gym tend to be individuals who work with young people, so their research subjects tend to be classroom students. And, because of the nature of children, for whom stringent methodology can actually influence testing results, descriptive or anecdotal research serves best.
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Is the foundation’s research on the Brain Gym® movements and processes scientific?
Some academics consider only experimental research (statistical research with control groups) to be scientific. You’ll find the studies that most adhere to this standard in our Annotated Research subcategories “Quasi-Experimental Research” and “True Experimental Research”.

To our knowledge, two have been published in a peer-reviewed journal:

Other academics consider descriptive research to be of equal scientific value to experimental research, because it identifies trends and provides a sound basis for controlled experimental research. You’ll find many examples of such pilot studies that use qualitative or anecdotal research. These latter studies have not yet been peer- reviewed, although some of them are qualified for such review. Both qualitative and quantitative studies are acceptable for peer review.
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Does the foundation sponsor research?
No, we do not financially sponsor research projects at this time. Our choice is to disseminate information about the relationship of movement to learning. To this end, we publish research and pilot studies as they become available to us.
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Why isn’t there more quantitative research?
Quantitative research or scientific research follows a medical model, not an educational one. A medical model studies the effects of one intervention (such as a medication or a teaching method) when all other factors are controlled. In our case, this requires that two or more groups in the study be established as uniformly as possible, preferably by random selection, and do very similar things, with only one group receiving the benefits of the Brain Gym® program.

Quantitative statistics are derived from testing and then comparing the results achieved by different groups. In the few such statistical studies that we already have, you’ll see that the Brain Gym group usually does better than the control group. Yet few of our instructors have the background or funding to do statistical research. Universities usually conduct such studies; they receive grants from government sources, for-profit and non-profit corporations, private sources, or some combination thereof to do such studies. Also, since most of our instructors are teachers who use the Brain Gym® program in the classroom, they’re working to make a difference for all children, and they question the ethics of not offering equal opportunities to all participants. We anticipate further quantitative research from academia at large as the validity of our work’s premise that movement enhances learning is further established. (See also Answer No. 7.)
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Why aren’t there more peer-reviewed articles?
Articles published in peer-reviewed journals are generally required to be based on scientific studies. Such studies must prove that an intervention made a statistically significant difference and didn’t happen by chance, and this necessitates a control group. Some are longitudinal studies requiring personnel to administer them over time. For the ethical reasons mentioned above, and because of the expertise required for statistical work and the high costs of doing such research over time, we haven’t yet seen many such studies. We anticipate further peer-reviewed articles from academia at large as the validity of our work’s premise that movement enhances learning is further established. (See also Answer No. 6.)
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What value is there in small classroom studies like the ones mentioned in the chronology?
The foundation is creating a body of literature that validates research hypotheses about the Brain Gym® work on which larger studies can then be based. Some of our instructors are currently developing such larger studies. We invite impartial researchers with an interest in how learning occurs to validate or disprove our established hypotheses.
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Isn’t quantitative, peer-reviewed research a standard requirement for any program used in schools?
No. For example, there are no quantitative or peer-reviewed articles that support the idea that children learn best by being tested or being grouped by age levels, yet programs that involve testing and age grouping are standard procedure in most schools.
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What kinds of factors are usually measured in Brain Gym research?
The Brain Gym work is seen to positively impact a broad variety of skills and behaviors (for examples, see Brain Gym®: Teacher’s Edition by Paul and Gail Dennison, © 2010). If you refer to any of our research publications (see answer No. 1, above) you’ll see that, in the last twenty years, a full range of skills, including reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, attention, memory, and fine-motor and postural skills, have been measured in pilot studies. Because the Brain Gym program offers such multifaceted results, the descriptive and anecdotal research studies are best suited to typical study purposes.

Along with the many anecdotal reports included in Brain Gym® Journal, the following are some representative studies that cite statistics.

A Study on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Academic Progress:

Studies on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Reading:

Studies on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Writing:

A Study on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Mathematics:

Studies on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Eye Movement and Vision:

A Study on Brain Gym and Its Effect on Spelling:

Studies on Brain Gym and Its Effect on Attention, Locomotion, and Fine-Motor Control:

Studies on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Level of Arousal (Biobehavioral States):

Studies on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Balance, Coordination, Recall, and Vision Improvement with Seniors:

A Study on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity, and Problem Behaviors

A Study on Brain Gym and Its Effects on Discipline Referrals:

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