Over the years, researchers have tried to find a way of improving memory in young and growing children. Some of the well-known methods that have already proved effective include physical exercise and also eating special diets. Other than that, recent research has indicated that eating chocolate can improve memory. In fact, Jones and Wilson (2011) found that eating chocolate two hours before taking math tests improved scores significantly. Based on these expectations, I was inspired to carry out a similar research and derive a testable hypothesis from previous findings.
Null hypothesis: Eating chocolate does not improve memory
Alternative hypothesis: Eating chocolate improves memory.
The stated hypothesis is indeed a one-tailed because previous research studies have shown that chocolate improves memory and in fact, children eating chocolate before a math exam perform better than those who don’t. In regard to gender, Wong, Hideki, Anderson, and Skaarsgard (2009) found that women are better than men on memory tests after eating chocolate. This further supports the direction of my hypothesis (Wong et al., 2009).
Indeed this is an important study because memory is one thing no one wants to lose or experience problems with. In fact, treating memory related disorders is expensive and sometimes hard to treat. Therefore if chocolate proves effective, then not only will it cut on the cost of treatment, but will also help in preventing memory related disorders among young children and also the elderly. Moreover, the study is important because chocolate is loved by almost everyone and with the health benefits it comes with, people can be encouraged to make it a habit of eating a given amount of chocolate or even used as a prescription in clinics (Jones & Wilson, 2012).
The study was a multi-site investigation conducted at ten medical centers. Basically, the study used a completely randomized design. Participants experiencing memory issues were divided into two groups. One group was asked to eat chocolate for a period of six weeks and the placebo was allowed to continue with the normal diet. Cognitive evaluations were conducted at an interval of two weeks and any participant who terminated the condition prematurely; last results were carried forward to end point. In addition, participants were asked to sign an informed consent prior to the study and those who were below legal age were also required to provide written informed consent from parents or legal guardians.
There were 50 men and 50 women who were randomly selected from a larger population. The reason as to why I selected participants randomly from a large population is because I wanted to avoid biases and also to be in a position to accurately generalize my findings to the general population. Participants were first tested prior to the study and those who were found to have low memory were given chocolate and the rest were placed as a placebo.
Participants were required to avoid eating chocolate for a period of one month prior to the study. This was to ensure that the placebo group does not interfere with the results of the study due to the presence of chocolate in their body. Also, it was important to do so in order to accurately attribute the effect of chocolate on participant’s memory after the study.
At the beginning of the study, participants were first interviewed on whether they had taken chocolate during the past one month or not. Those who met the requirements were then tested using special medical instruments and it is at this point that 100 participants were selected of which 50 were men and 50 women. The groups were further divided into halves respectively in order to get the placebo group and those under the effect of chocolate.
A t-test was conducted to compare men and women’s performance on an assessment after eating chocolate. The results showed an independent t-test value of t .05(99) = 3.43; p < .05. the choice of a t-test is indeed ideal for this situation because it helps to compare the means of the two groups and also to test the null hypothesis. The values indicated in the results shows that the study was one-tailed.
According to the research hypothesis which stated that chocolate improves memory, it is clear that the study did confirm the alternative hypothesis. This is because both men and women in the study showed memory improvements compared to those in the placebo group. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. These results were consistent with the previous studies and hence, give strength to the suggestion that chocolate should be used to improve memory (Armstrong, 2012). However, despite efforts to conduct an effective research, there were a number of limitations. One limitation is that chocolate is a mixture of many products and hence memory improvements cannot be solely attributed to chocolate without testing the individual products for the same. Also, the number of participants was not sufficient to generalize the results to the general public. Therefore, future studies should focus on improving these limitations.
Generally, it is evident that eating chocolate helps to improve memory. Therefore, nutritionists should encourage their clients to include it in their diet and also indicate the right amounts to take. School going children should also be encouraged to eat chocolate, especially during exam times.
Indeed writing a false research report that appears real is not easy. Getting the facts right including statistical values is the hardest part and proves that for a study to be approved, researchers have to work extra hard at every stage of the research. Therefore, I believe that this experience will greatly influence my approach to future real studies.
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Armstrong, M. (2012). Effects of Chocolate on Memomory. Journal of Health Nutrition , 23(4), pp. 221-222.
Jones & Wilson. (2012). Eating Chocolate Improves Memory. Journal of Food Science , Volume 79, Issue 9.
Wong, Hideki, Anderson, and Skaarsgard. (2009). Chocolate and Memory. New York: Psy Publishers.