The Effect of Fidget Spinners on Attention and Anxiety in Typically Developing Children
Department of Psychology
Advertisements have led consumers to believe that fidget spinners assist children in maintaining attention and decreasing stress (Libassi, 2017). The current study tested these claims with a sample of 47 typically developing children, ages 8 to 12. Participants were randomly assigned to use a fidget spinner or not (control group) while completing a test of attention and working memory as well as an anxiety-provoking task. The experimental and control group did not differ in age, gender, experience with fidget spinners, or parent-rated anxiety. However, the experimental group received higher parent ratings of hyperactivity compared to the control group prior to the experimental manipulation. Contrary to expectations, the experimental group (M = 22) and control group (M = 25) did not differ with regard to performance during the attention and working memory task, t(45) = .605, p = .548, d = .18. Additionally, the experimental group (M = 3.05; SD = 2.22) and control group (M = 3.54; SD = 2.08) also did not differ with regard to peak anxiety during the anxiety provoking task, t(45) = -.266, p = .79, d = .08. Fidget spinners do not appear to disrupt attention or decrease anxiety among typically developing children.