Does eating enhance mental performance or slow your brain down? In this experiment, you will evaluate the speed and accuracy of test subjects that have been asked to perform a series of mental tasks either before or after eating a large meal.
Is mental performance best before or after eating a large meal?
- Approximately 20 test subjects
- Several mental tasks (eg, medium level Sudoku puzzle, multiplication test, etc)
- Notebook for analyzing results
- Put together several mental tests to give to your test subjects. Make sure that each task that you put together can be easily altered. You want the test to look different to your test subjects each time they take it (try not to alter the difficulty of each test when you revise them).
- Divide your test subjects into two groups. One group should perform the tasks on an empty stomach first, and the other group should first perform the tasks after eating a meal.
- Ask one group to refrain from eating for five hours before performing your tasks. Record the time it takes for each test subject to perform each mental task.
- On another day, feed this group a large meal and ask them to repeat each mental task. Remember to slightly alter your mental tasks so that they appear “new” to your test subjects. Record the time it takes for each participant to complete their task.
- Reverse steps 3 and 4 for your second group of participants. This group should be tested after a large meal on the first day, and tested after five hours of fasting on the next day. Remember to slightly alter your mental tasks from one day to the next so that they appear “new” to your test subjects.
- Analyze your results. Under which set of circumstances did test subjects perform each mental test fastest? Do you observe any patterns in your data? Does eating a large meal seem to enhance or slow the speed at which the tasks are completed?
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions
Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational
purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation
regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for
any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such
information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and
renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your
access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by
on Education.com's liability.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all
individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea
should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental
or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all
materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For
further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.