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An Investigation Into The Effects Of Sugar Upon Aptitude Levels

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An Investigation Into The Effects Of Sugar Upon Aptitude Levels


        The aim of this study was to discover whether sugar intake has an effect upon people’s cognitive aptitude. This was done by dividing the sample into three conditions (high sugar drink, low sugar drink and control.) The participants were then asked to drink the drink given (with the exception of the control condition.) and then fill out an aptitude test. Once all the results had been gathered they were put through the Mann Whitney (U) test. The results showed that sugar has a detrimental effect on aptitude.


        Physiological psychology is the study of how the brain affects the body, and how the two work in tandem. This has been explored in this study, as sugar levels have an effect upon both physical and mental performance. Sugar can be burned by the body to produce energy, but at the same time it has a negative effect on the brain, which is clear from the results. Shachter and Singer’s investigation (1962) is similar to this study, in that they tested the effects of epinephrine on participants ability to operate in a certain environment, and certain elements of their

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Participants – The sample used for this study was a group of 12 participants aged between 16 and 25; 12 female and 12 male. These were divided into three groups, each consisting of two males and two females. The participants were all taken from my peer group.

Materials – To carry out this experiment the following things were needed:

  • Two separate aptitude tests, one on technological skills and one on word association
  • Two drinks, one with a high sugar content and one with a low sugar content.

Procedure – We told the subjects to drink their drink if they were in the high or low sugar group, and to wait 5 minutes to allow the sugar time to enter the subject’s bloodstream. Once the 5 minutes was up the subject was asked to perform the aptitude tests in as much time as they required. Once the data had been collected it was placed in a table, along with the condition and gender of the subject. The scores gathered were all out of 20 (10 questions per test).

Controls – There were an equal amount of males and females of a similar age group in the sample used. All subjects were given an equal amount of drink, as varying amounts would contain different amounts of sugar, which could affect the results.

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  • Hugh Coolican (1995) – Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Richard Gross (1990) – Key Studies in Psychology (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Anon (1980) – Test Your Aptitude (Reader’s Digest)

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