Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Think Gum - chew and remember

Think Gum aims to:

...take advantage of proven brain-boosting herbs and herbal extracts, potent antioxidants, the principles of aromatherapy, the stimulant qualities of naturally occurring caffeine, breakthroughs in memory research, and the physical properties of chewing gum itself. In short, Think Gum enhances mental performance.

Not sure of the claims but besides the impact of brain chemistry on cognitive processes, it does highlight the importance of context in learning. The environment - taste and smell included - plays a significant role in recalling memories:

If test takers chew Think Gum while learning, their recall of such information will be better when they chew Think Gum again.

Not sure what happens when you get through all the distinctive flavours they offer, but these are interesting studies quoted on the site:

(1) Herz RS. The effects of cue distinctiveness on odor-based context-dependent memory. Mem Cognit. 1997 May;25(3):375-80.
(2)Pointer SC, Bond NW. Context-dependent memory: colour versus odour. Chem Senses. 1998 Jun;23(3):359-62.
(3)Morgan CL. Odors as cues for the recall of words unrelated to odor. Percept Mot Skills. 1996 Dec;83(3 Pt 2):1227-34.
(4)Smith DG, Standing L, de Man A. Verbal memory elicited by ambient odor. Percept Mot Skills. 1992 Apr;74(2):339-43.

Scratch and sniff test papers can only be a short time a way...

If anyone has had a try of this stuff I'd be interested to know if you felt any positive effects.

1 comment:

Donald Clark said...

I love this post but prefer the 'sticking tongue in cheek' method! But seriously, the use of cues while storing memories to increase retention is well known so it's not so outlandish. Nice post.