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A Research On The Effects Of Chewing Gum On A Student’s Memory Recall

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Introduction

Every student is always looking for something to improve their memory recall to help them score a better grade on their exam. College students use a variety of techniques to help with their memory recall for example, excising prior to an exam, drinking caffeine drinks or getting a good night’s sleep. This study examined the effects of chewing gum on a student’s memory recall.

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Chewing gum has been shown to have mixed effects on alertness and performance on memory tasks. Research suggests that chewing gum can increase alertness, Smith (2010). Andrew Smith also conducted another study called, Effects of chewing gum and time-on task on alertness and attention, Allen & Smith (2012), which confirmed that there is a strong effect of chewing gum on increased alertness. Rickman, Johnson and Miles (2012) endorsed that when chewing gum learning is increased. Yet, research on the effects of gum chewing on tasks performance suggests that it does not have a significant effect, Smith (2008).

There is also evidence that chewing gum improves a participant’s reaction time as well as their attention, Smith (2010). Chewing gum also helps with a person’s concentration. Tänzer, von Fintel & Eikermann (2009), found that chewing gum improves a student’s concentration.

Research provides evidence that chewing gum improves a person’s memory recall. The purpose of this current study was to examine the effects of chewing gum on a student’s academic performance and to expand on the prior research. In this study participants listen to a list of words while either chewing gum or not. It was predicted that participants who chew gum remember more words than participants that did not chew gum.

Method

Participants

A total of 24 Fitchburg State students, were recruited word of mouth and with the SONA recruitment system platform. Students under the age of 18 years of age were not be allowed to participate in this study.

Materials

A list of words such as horse, bell, or television were used to measure memory recall. Each participant was given a sheet of paper and pen to be used to recall the listed words. Orbit Spearmint sugarless gum was used. A short demographic survey was used to collect information on sex and age. Participants were also asked to document if they chewed gum or not.

Procedure

At the time of arrival, the participant was randomly assigned to the experimental group, whom chewed gum while listening and recalling a list of words or the control group whom listened and recalled a list of words with no gum. The participant was first asked to complete the informed consent form. After completing the informed consent form, the participant in the treatment group were given a piece of chewing gum and asked to start chewing. Participants were told they can opt out of chewing gum for any reason if they wish. Participants listened to the researcher list the words, once the researcher was done listing words, the participant was asked to count backwards from 50 to 0, this was used as a distractor task. After the participant was done counting, they were given a piece of paper and pen then asked to the list as many words they can recall. After one minute the researcher collected the list of words and the participant was asked to complete the demographic survey. After completion of the survey, the participant was given a debriefing paper that explains the purpose of the study. The participant then was thanked for their participation in the study and were free to leave.

Results

The dependent variable in our study was represented by the number of correct words recalled. To measure memory recall, we calculated the number of correctly recalled words for participants that chewed gum compared to participants that chewed no gum.

To test our hypothesis that chewing gum affects memory recall, an independent t-test was conducted using the number of correctly recalled words as the dependent variable. Results of this analysis revealed, a significant effect of chewing gum on the number of correct recalled words. The number of correct words were significantly higher for participants that chewed gum (M=5.31 SD=2.17) than participants that did not chew gum (M=4.36 SD= 1.96).

Discussion

The results of this study supported our hypothesis. This study had two levels; chewing gum and not chewing gum. It can be concluded that chewing gum does affect a person’s memory recall. Participants that chewed gum were able to recall a high number of words than participants that did not chew gum. This experiment supports previous research done on this topic. Rickman, Johnson and Miles (2012) established that when chewing gum learning is increased.

Even though our study had some limitations, our study demonstrated that chewing gum does affect student’s memory recall and improved their academic performance. One limitation was found to be the small population size, our study consisted on 24 participants. Another limitation of this study was the location of the participants, our study used only Fitchburg State University students. A third limitation would be the time frame that we had to collect data, if we had more time, we could have had a larger number of participants.

For better results future researchers should examine this topic further, the population size should be larger, possibly using up to 100 students. Another study could be done using different flavored gums not just Orbit Spearmint, such as cinnamon, wintergreen or fruit. 

10 Jun 2021

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