EFFECTS OF PEPPERMINT AND FRUIT FLAVORED CHEWING GUM ON HEART RATE, COGNITIVE SPEED, AND ACCURACY
L. Holling,D. Fok, M. Massad, J.D. Page, W.M. Silvers
Whitworth University, Spokane, WA
There is evidence that chewing gum has a positive impact on short-term and long-term memory, and chronic stress. Additionally, the aroma of peppermint has been reported to increase alertness. Despite these observations, no investigations have, apparently, attempted to evaluate the combined effects of flavor and gum on cognition. PURPOSE: The purpose of this research study was to determine the difference between peppermint and fruit-flavored gum on speed, heart rate (HR), accuracy, and perceived stress during a Stroop test. METHODS: Twenty-two undergraduate male (n= 4; age: 21 ± 0.82 y) and female (n= 18; age: 20 ± 1.27 y) Health Science students completed a Stroop test during three separate sessions under three of the following conditions: 1) no gum (C), 2) sugar-free peppermint gum (P), and 3) sugar-free fruit-flavored gum (F). During each condition, participants reported their perceived stress levels on a scale of 1 to 10 before and after performing the Stroop test. A pulse oximeter was used to measure HR for each participant, and speed and accuracy were recorded during the Stroop test for each participant. A repeated measures ANOVA was utilized to determine significant differences between the three conditions for each dependent variable. Alpha (α) was set at p< 0.05 to determine statistical significance. RESULTS: Of the three conditions, P gum significantly improved Stroop test speed (P: 38.38 ± 8.81 s; F: 41.88 ± 16.97 s, C: 43.5 ± 15.26 s; p= 0.032). However, there were no significant differences (p = 0.074-0.919) between any of the conditions for Stroop test accuracy, resting, mean, and peak HR during testing, and self-reported stress. CONCLUSIONS: Under these research conditions, chewing peppermint gum only improved Stroop test speed. The primary explanation for the observed results was that peppermint gum appeared to increase alertness in participants, which allowed participants to recognize the color of the font more efficiently. Further research is needed to investigate a larger sample population. Also, researchers should have participants chew gum while taking a longer version of the Stroop test.
Holling, L; Fok, D; Massad, M; Page, JD; and Silvers, WM
"EFFECTS OF PEPPERMINT AND FRUIT FLAVORED CHEWING GUM ON HEART RATE, COGNITIVE SPEED, AND ACCURACY,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8
, Article 37.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss6/37