Scientia 2006: Mary Benner

Mary Benner is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in English. Following graduation, Mary plans to pursue an occupation in her field of study to help her narrow which program to pursue in graduate school. Mary plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2007 and eventually pursue a doctoral degree in mental health counseling. Mary has presented research at the 2006 Eastern Psychological Association Conference. She is a founding member and officer of the Peers On Wellness Peer Education group based out of the Counseling/Student Development Center. Mary is also a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma and Psi Chi National Honor Societies and Vice President of the Psychology Club. Mary elected to pursue a Citation in Honors as an extra challenge to enhance her undergraduate learning experience. Writing an honor’s thesis provided her with an opportunity to extend the exciting implications of the research she conducted in her psychology courses. Mary would like to especially thank her reader Christopher Moy for providing insights into her research that she could not have gained elsewhere. Mary would also like to extend her gratitude to her thesis director and research advisor, Dr. Crawley, for his endless encouragement and for sharing his expertise throughout the process. Also, thanks are to be given to all members of the Undergraduate Psychology faculty for sharing their wisdom and guidance and inspiring a passion for psychology. Finally, Mary would like to thank her friends and family for their direction and endless support when it was most needed.

Effects of Chewing Gum on Memory of Studied Words

Director: Dr. Edward Crawley
Reader: Mr. Christopher Moy


The present study investigated the effects of gum chewing on cognitive performance and memory. In experiment 1, participants completed a battery of cognitive tasks while chewing sugared gum, sugar-free gum, or no gum (control group). Consistent with previous research, chewing sugar-free gum led to increased performance on immediate word recall and visual memory of studied material. Experiment 2 examined the effects of gum chewing during the execution of serial-position recall tasks to investigate the effects of gum chewing on LTM and STM. Forty-one students participated in a 2 (gum, no gum) x 2 (immediate recall, delayed recall) between subjects comparison. Results indicate that chewing gum creates a significant extension of the primacy effect among the first quarter of the serial position curve. This evidence suggests that chewing gum during presentation and recall of a series of items improves LTM.

Current trends in today’s society have created an obsession with improving memory and a desire to ensure that memory remains effective despite aging. Considering the availability of over-the-counter and herbal remedies, there are now many techniques that claim to effectively enhance memory. Now more than ever, medical science has developed increasingly advanced methods of improving natural human functions, including memory (Davidson & Conner, 2000). However, improving some aspects of memory may not require such advanced medical procedures and practices.

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