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Do Some Flavors of

Gum Affect Memory

Better Than Others?
Daniel Matson
AP Statistics per. 6

Table of Contents

Analytical Report
Works Cited
Appendix A - Hand work
Appendix B - Data
Appendix C - Slideshow images
Website Link
Original Inquiry Pitch
Revised Inquiry Pitch
Report Rough Draft
Peer Review Feedback Form

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The association between memory and chewing gum has been a very common urban myth
for many years. In 2008 researchers from the University of Northumbria conducted a study,
proving that this is true, chewing gum does in fact increase memory. However, they did not
specify which type of gum, and if perhaps other types of gum increases memory more than
others. In order to improve test scores, many students will chew gum during a test or other
assessment, hoping that it will help with memory recall. It would be helpful and beneficial for
students and other demographics as well to know if perhaps a certain type or flavor of gum has a
greater effect on memory recall than another. The main hypothesis that is being tested in this
experiment is if there is a difference in the effect of mint flavored and fruit flavored gum on
memory recall. The population being tested is Austin High Seniors. This population was chosen
for multiple reasons, the main being that this population would be the easiest to sample, as
opposed to students from different schools. Secondly only seniors were chosen to be in the
experiment in order to control for the variable of age, as most seniors are 17 and 18 years old.
First, the sample was drawn. A roster of the senior class was obtained and a random
number generator was used to select students for the experiment. Three digit numbers from 001
to 491 were selected, skipping repeats, and stopping once thirty numbers were drawn. Next the
students were contacted, saying that they had been randomly selected to participate is this
experiment, and asking of first, fifth, or eighth periods, which would work best for them to
conduct the experiment. During the experiment, the subject was asked to watch a short slide
show on an iPad, consisting of ten images, each to be played for five seconds. The images were
pictures of easily recognizable people or items, for example, President Obama, Mr. Maroo, the
Texas flag, a tree and so on as seen in appendix C. Following the slide show, the students waited

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for one minute and then were asked to write down as many of the images at they could
remember, not necessarily in order. The thirty students were divided into three groups of ten each
and assigned to one of the groups. One group did not chew gum, one group chewed Trident
Original Flavor gum, and the last group chewed Trident Watermelon Twist. However of the thirty
students selected, only twenty six students responded, which is an example of non-response bias.
For this reason, the sample may not have been representative of the population of Austin High
Seniors. In actuality, the third group that was given the fruit flavored gum, only received six
After the data was collected, a two sample hypothesis test for means was performed. Mu
1 was the true population mean score on a memory test for people who chewed mint gum and mu
2 was the true population mean score on a memory test for people who chewed fruit flavored
gum. The null hypothesis that was being tested was the mu 1 is equal to mu 2, while the
alternative hypothesis is that mu 1 is less than mu 2. A one-tailed hypothesis test was conducted
because while looking at the data, the scores of students who chewed the fruit flavored gum
appeared to be higher than the scores of those who chewed mint flavored gum, so it was tested if
this difference was significant or not. The conditions that needed to be met to perform the test are
that there was a simple random sample, which there was. Since sigma was unknown, a t test was
performed. The samples are independent and we have approximately normal data, which is seen
by the linearity of the normal quantile plots. However since the population sizes are not at least
10 times the sample, the conclusions may be subject to question. Once the conditions were met,
the t-value was calculated to be -2.236. Since this is a one tailed hypothesis test, the t curve was

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only shaded to the left.. The p-value which equals the probability of t being less than -2.236, is .
0423. Our alpha value was .05, and degrees of freedom is 13.84.
Since our p-value is less than alpha, we will reject the claim that the true population mean
scores on a memory test are the same for people who chew mint and fruit flavored gum.
Therefore we have evidence to say that fruit flavored gum has a greater effect on memory than
mint flavored gum. However, this would not be considered significant at the .01 alpha level,
giving us a different result. Additionally due to the conditions not completely being met, this
result is up to speculation.
If this project were to be repeated, more precision would be used when collecting the data
to control for confounding variables, and a larger sample would have been drawn in order to
satisfy the conditions for inference. Additionally, the experiment could have included more than
just two flavors of gum, and gum from different brands.

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Work Cited
"Memory and Chewing Gum." Psychologist World. University of Northumbria, 17 Jan. 2008.
Web. 23 Mar. 2015.

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Appendix A - Hand Work

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Appendix B - Data

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Appendix C- Slide Show images

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Website link: