JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » Education
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Tags peppermint

Reply
Old 1st May 2007, 12:38 AM   #1
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
Getting students hopped up on peppermint before state tests

From my principal:

"Dear Staff,
It is a proven fact that peppermint has been known to stimulate the human brain. In your STAR goody bag for tomorrow you will find peppermints for your testing students. Please be sure to hand one peppermint to each of your STAR testing students prior to taking the test."

He had me at "it is a proven fact."

STAR is Standardized Testing and Reporting here in California. Students are battered with tests in English, math, history/social science, and science. I responded with this from BrainConnection.com:

"Yet on the basis of [a] newspaper article, some teachers are giving their students peppermint candy because "research proves that candy improves memory." Is it any wonder that some neuroscientists are beginning to accuse educators of engaging in pseudoscience or worse, becoming "snake-oil salesmen" for products and programs that have no real scientific foundation?"

I added the conclusion that if we want test scores to go up, students will simply need to be better prepared for tests. No peppermint, incense, or incantations will help.

The irony is that tomorrow's tests are the science tests! And we're invoking woo!

Anyway, has anyone out there dealt with this Peppermyth?
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 01:46 AM   #2
Soapy Sam
NLH
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27,227
Well, I like peppermint candy.
If "liking" is a behavioural response to a neurochemical stimulus (and I can't imagine what else it is), then peppermint candy stimulates my brain.

Look, stop bitching. You got a free candy. If you don't want it, pass it over here...

And next I suggest you slip the principal a paper suggesting IQ goes up with chocolate consumption. You're onto a winner here.
Soapy Sam is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 07:11 AM   #3
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
Free candy is OK. Free steamy plate of BS? Not so much.
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 01:09 PM   #4
Senex
Illuminator
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: An autobody repair shop in Connecticut
Posts: 3,914
Unlike prayer, pepperment candy can't hurt.
Senex is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 01:27 PM   #5
Fnord
Metasyntactic Variable
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,624
Don't believe everything you're told...

The following is alleged to have first appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, date unknown...

Hazards of Bread

A recent Cincinnati Enquirer headline read, "Smell of baked bread may be health hazard." The article went on to describe the dangers of the smell of baking bread. The main danger, apparently, is that the organic components of this aroma may break down ozone (I'm not making this stuff up).

I was horrified. When are we going to do something about bread-induced global warming? Sure, we attack tobacco companies, but when is the government going to go after Big Bread?
Well, I've done a little research, and what I've discovered should make anyone think twice....
  1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
  2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
  3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.
  4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
  5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!
  6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.
  7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
  8. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
  9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread pudding person.
  10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
  11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
  12. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:
  1. No sale of bread to minors.
  2. A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
  3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
  4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
  5. The establishment of "Bread free" zones around schools.


Why?
__________________
Belief is the subjective acceptance of a (valid or invalid) concept, opinion, or theory;
Faith is the unreasoned belief in improvable things;
and Knowledge is the reasoned belief in provable things.
Belief itself proves nothing.
Fnord is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 06:04 PM   #6
Jeff Corey
New York Skeptic
 
Jeff Corey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 13,797
Hopped up? That would make them hopheads, and wer'e not talkin about an ingredient of beer, here.
Jeff Corey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 06:32 PM   #7
Lisa Simpson
Evil Minion
Administrator
 
Lisa Simpson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 21,538
Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
Hopped up? That would make them hopheads, and wer'e not talkin about an ingredient of beer, here.
They'd be pepped up pep-heads.

I love peppermint Altoids, but I don't think they've helped my memory. I have a test tomorrow, so I shall test this "proven fact" by eating four Altoids immediately prior to the test. I should see an improvement over my practice test scores, yes?
__________________
That's what the Internet does -- you get a free bonus prize of Stupid Lies with every box of Delicious Facts. - cracked.com

Facts are satanic litter on the heavenly highway to blind faith! - Betty Bowers
Lisa Simpson is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 06:39 PM   #8
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
This is presumably the study he is referring to. Do you have any basis for dismissing it as "woo?"
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 08:08 PM   #9
LostAngeles
Anti-WM Jihadist
 
LostAngeles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Having a cup of tea.
Posts: 10,159
Originally Posted by Gregory View Post
Looking more at the site reveals that it's, "the research and education division of The Fragrance Foundation, the non-profit, educational arm of the international fragrance industry." - http://www.senseofsmell.org/about/aboutus.php

I have found nothing in the JStor database, the Web of Science database, the Inspec database, the PubMed database, or the Expanded Academic ASAP database yet with regards to this study which implies that it was not published in any peer-reviewed journal, but really just says that it was not published in any of the 4000 journals compiled in Inspec. (4000 being the highest of two counts I have for the databases I looked in.)

And if you don't publish your results in a peer-reviewed journal, we have a tendancy to suspect your results.
__________________
"There is also a likelihood that the settlement will fall between two biomes, potentially hazardous if the player expects a peaceful oceanside meadow, without realizing the ocean is full of amphibious zombie whales." - Dwarf Fortress Wik
LostAngeles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 08:40 PM   #10
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
Originally Posted by LostAngeles View Post
Looking more at the site reveals that it's, "the research and education division of The Fragrance Foundation, the non-profit, educational arm of the international fragrance industry." - http://www.senseofsmell.org/about/aboutus.php

I have found nothing in the JStor database, the Web of Science database, the Inspec database, the PubMed database, or the Expanded Academic ASAP database yet with regards to this study which implies that it was not published in any peer-reviewed journal, but really just says that it was not published in any of the 4000 journals compiled in Inspec. (4000 being the highest of two counts I have for the databases I looked in.)

And if you don't publish your results in a peer-reviewed journal, we have a tendancy to suspect your results.
The actual research was done by these people, it looks like--
http://www.iitp.ru/iitp/2002/lab8e.pdf

They seem pretty legit to me--their one English publication listed was in "Experimental Brain Research," which is a peer-reviewed journal--but I can't look very far into it because I don't speak Russian.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st May 2007, 11:30 PM   #11
Slimething
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 3,804
Gregory, can you get ahold of the actual publication? The first link you posted was to a short blurb with no data and the second was what looked to be an annual report of some type. Is there no publication?

Also, if this phenomenon were true, the principal at the school and the teachers could be charged with practicing medicine without a license as peppermint could be classified as an unapproved drug.
Slimething is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 12:24 AM   #12
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 19,138
But of course if the school's scores went up then something would be going on.
1. Peppermint does do something.
2. Better students.
3. Better teachers.
4. Something else.
rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 08:16 AM   #13
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
Angry

Originally Posted by Slimething View Post
Gregory, can you get ahold of the actual publication? The first link you posted was to a short blurb with no data and the second was what looked to be an annual report of some type. Is there no publication?

Also, if this phenomenon were true, the principal at the school and the teachers could be charged with practicing medicine without a license as peppermint could be classified as an unapproved drug.
There was a list of publications in the second article, one of which might be the relevant one. But I already said I don't speak Russian, and if someone is going to hunt down a Russian article, published in a Russian journal, with a Russian title, it's not going to be me.

On the other hand, the claim that certain odors might cause people to do certain tasks better is hardly extrordinary, since a pleasent or unpleasent odor would presumably effect their moods. Popular science ran something about that, and Science did a study about using the scent of roses as a study aid. It's not like I'm trotting out some incredible ESP study with only an annual report from an unknown Russian group as evidence.

Last edited by Gregory; 2nd May 2007 at 08:23 AM.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 09:13 AM   #14
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
Originally Posted by Gregory View Post
There was a list of publications in the second article, one of which might be the relevant one. But I already said I don't speak Russian, and if someone is going to hunt down a Russian article, published in a Russian journal, with a Russian title, it's not going to be me.

On the other hand, the claim that certain odors might cause people to do certain tasks better is hardly extrordinary, since a pleasent or unpleasent odor would presumably effect their moods. Popular science ran something about that, and Science did a study about using the scent of roses as a study aid. It's not like I'm trotting out some incredible ESP study with only an annual report from an unknown Russian group as evidence.
Still, without seeing the methodology, there's not much of a way of assessing the summary of results given by an industry association. My guess is that it's a barely measurable difference with small sample sizes, and the effect won't be successfully reproduced.

It's a huge leap to go from one study (on the correlation between the smell of peppermint and test performance) to the claim that "It's a proven fact that peppermint has been shown to stimulate the brain." That's definitely a pseudoscientific statement.

Even if, as you say, it's simply a case that a pleasant smell puts you in a better mood and can be the reason for slightly better performance on tests, that would in no way support the claim that the OP is deriding.
__________________
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 09:47 AM   #15
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
Well, no. I sort of lost track of the OP after my first post, honestly.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 09:55 AM   #16
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
Originally Posted by Senex View Post
Unlike prayer, pepperment candy can't hurt.
Tell that to the diabetic kid over there going into ketoacidosis.
__________________
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 06:09 PM   #17
Slimething
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 3,804
Originally Posted by Gregory View Post
But I already said I don't speak Russian, and if someone is going to hunt down a Russian article, published in a Russian journal, with a Russian title, it's not going to be me.
I'm with you there. I'm not literate in Russian either so we have basically an anecdote.

Quote:
On the other hand, the claim that certain odors might cause people to do certain tasks better is hardly extrordinary, since a pleasent or unpleasent odor would presumably effect their moods. Popular science ran something about that, and Science did a study about using the scent of roses as a study aid. It's not like I'm trotting out some incredible ESP study with only an annual report from an unknown Russian group as evidence.
I do admit that getting someone in a somewhat better mood could help them perform academic tasks better. Getting them in a really great mood would help them in sports or demolition activities. Getting them in a super mood would make them unbearable. But, if odors can do the first (I was being silly with the others), is the peppermint/roses really the cause or is it that the test-takers no longer smell the abject fear of the other test-takers? In any case, I have no doubt that testees (ha ha) would do better on mild peppermint than in a military tear gas room.
Slimething is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 08:03 PM   #18
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
Still haven't tracked down a peer-reviewed article, but here's a little more about it.

It included mention of English language research, but it's been mostly a dead-end for me. Trying to follow up on this article (why oh why don't news articles on scientific subjects site their sources?), I have...

...not been able to find where Warm and Dember presented their results. I've found a more complete citation with a title--"Effects of Olfactory Stimulation on the Vigilance Performance of Individuals with Brain Injury. Thomas E. Sullivan, Joel S. Warm, Bruce K. Schefft, William N. Dember, Michael W. O'Dell, Stephen J. Peterson."--but putting that title or combination of names into Google or JSTOR hasn't turned anything. Could if have been presented at a pannel or something, instead of published?

...succeeded in tracing the claim about athletic performance. The citation is "Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 2001, 23,156-160. Bryan Raudenbush, Nathan Corley, and William Eppich. Wheeling Jesuit University." Unfortunately, it's not on JSTOR, so I haven't been able to check up on it.

Do you think it would be weird for a student from another university (not even a psych student) to email Dr. Warm and ask about his research? I'm sort of curious about this, now.

Last edited by Gregory; 2nd May 2007 at 08:05 PM.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 08:14 PM   #19
Slimething
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 3,804
Pretty good find, Gregory. It's strictly not advanced enough yet to be considered definitive evidence but it's a good start. I think Dr. Warm would be flattered to have you take an interest in his work. I've worked for a few publishing hounds and they just love stuffing reprints into envelopes. Kind of an ego trip for them, I suspect.
Slimething is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 08:24 PM   #20
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
It actually might not me necessary. I think I've found what I'm looking for via google (I was going to edit my post, but you responded so quickly...which is better then being ignored, of course.):

Here's the athletic article online--http://www.gungfu.com/pics_info_page...ts_inhaler.htm

It includes in its referenses:

Dember, W.N., Warm, J.S., & Parasuraman, R. (1996). Olfactory stimulation and sustained attention. In A. Gilbert (Ed.), Compendium of olfactory research (pp. 39-46). New York: Olfactory Research Fund, Ltd.

Jones, ICS., Ruhl, R.L., Warm, J.S., & Dember, W.N. (1999). Olfaction and vigilance: The role of hedonic value. In M.W. Scerbo & M. Mouloua (Eds.), Automation technology and human performance: Current research and trends (pp. 193-197). London: Erlbaum

Warm, J.S., Dember, W.N. & Parasuraman, R. (1991). Effects of olfactory stimulation on performance and stress in a visual sustained attention task. Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 42, 199-210.

..none of which are on JSTOR, but it's something.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 2nd May 2007, 09:44 PM   #21
Miss Anthrope
All your post are belong to us
 
Miss Anthrope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: A Tiny Oasis in the PNW
Posts: 3,597
This is why I love these forums! I get to sit back and watch the facts get dug up and discussed by people with much larger brains than my own!

Thanks you guys!!!!
__________________
We're not elected officials, nor are we paid professionals. You want us to act as such? Fine. Cough up the cash - because as a professional, I don't come cheap."-Jmercer, who happens to rock.[/color]
Miss Anthrope is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 09:27 AM   #22
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
Cornell says peppermint won't help on tests.
http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/educatio...html?quid=1031
Excerpt: "the research studies that have been conducted have produced very mixed results, and many of the studies that claim to have shown benefits turn out to have been poorly conducted. The most recent scientifically rigorous research studies that have been well conducted mostly have failed to show any significant benefits to performance from either eating or smelling peppermint."

(I wonder if the methodology of "The Smell Institute" was found wanting.)

BrainConnection.com agrees.
http://www.brainconnection.com/content/160_3

Again, the directive from the school's principal was that "it is a proven fact" that peppermint will stimulate young minds. Seems the burden of proof falls upon the original claim.

I *am* claiming it's woo, based on my sources (and my general mistrust of strange things proclaimed to be "proven facts").

Once there is satisfactory evidence/proof of this proven fact, we can proceed.
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.

Last edited by phyz; 3rd May 2007 at 09:40 AM.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 10:43 AM   #23
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
If I had a strong opinion on the matter, I don't think your links would substantially alter it. The first one specifically did not address the studies I mentioned, and the second one is extremely vague--all of his assertions are coached in conditional terms ("many of the studies," "mostly have failed,"), and since he declines to mention any specific studies or methodological flaws, he's essentially saying, "Take my word for it."

If you have specific criticisms of the peppermint paper that's available online, for instance--the athletic one--I'd be interested to hear them.

Last edited by Gregory; 3rd May 2007 at 10:48 AM.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 11:28 AM   #24
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
Again, the schoolwide distribution of peppermint candies, counted out and bagged up to be given one-per-student, was not to induce superior athletic performance. The candies were given in an attempt to improve student performance on state-mandated academic content tests. The practice was bolstered by the unsupported assertion that it was a proven fact peppermint stimulates young brains.

A Russian study supported by The Smell Institute seems every bit as authoritative as "reserch" promoted by The Tobacco Institute.

In your view, The Smell Institute ranks above The Cornell Center for Materials Research in terms of reliability?
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 11:43 AM   #25
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
Originally Posted by phyz View Post
A Russian study supported by The Smell Institute seems every bit as authoritative as "reserch" promoted by The Tobacco Institute.
You've mentioned the "Smell Institute" by name in both your posts. I don't know why you're so caught up in them; they didn't perform the research, just quoted it. It was performed by the Institute for Information Transmission Problems, which is part of the Russian Acadamy of Sciences. Is it your position that the Russian Acadamy of Sciences has no more credibility then the Tobacco Institute?

Quote:
In your view, The Smell Institute ranks above The Cornell Center for Materials Research in terms of reliability?
It is my view that "A Cornell scientists says so, you should believe it" is not a valid argument. As for Cornell vs. the RAS--I have no idea.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 12:22 PM   #26
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
The citation you offered lists only "Moscow School - Laboratory No. 199 (Russia)." Did I miss the association with the RAS elsewhere in the article?
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 01:03 PM   #27
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
And not to detract from the debate re the gravitas of the source, but the article mentions tasks that were aided by peppermint smell (not administered by candy, by the way) and tasks that were not.

How would you distinguish the two types of tasks?
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 02:30 PM   #28
Gregory
Muse
 
Gregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 687
You have to follow my second link; "The actual research was done by these people, it looks like--http://www.iitp.ru/iitp/2002/lab8e.pdf"

That takes you to a section of the IITP webpage; you have to Google to find out that the IITP is connected with the RIA (well, it probably says so on the web page, but it's in Russian...)

I'm not sure it would be possible to distinguish between the types of tasks, except through experementation. The article suggests that "operative memory" is probably improved, but I'm not sure what that means, and poking around the web isn't turning anything up. As pure speculation, I would suggest that it might help with English and math (because improved concentration could reasonably help with problem-solving and reading comprehension) but not, say, social studies (because if you don't already know who the currect Secretary of State is or whatever it is they want to know, all the improved concentration in the world won't help you guess). Again, just speculation.
Gregory is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 03:13 PM   #29
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
Originally Posted by phyz View Post
And not to detract from the debate re the gravitas of the source, but the article mentions tasks that were aided by peppermint smell (not administered by candy, by the way) and tasks that were not.
Also the principal's claim as a "proven fact" was that peppermint (presumably from the context he meant "eating peppermint candy") will "stimulate the brain". I don't think any of these studies did an fMRI or anything that directly measures brain function. (Unless you take his meaning to be the wholly trivial claim that any sensory input stimulates the brain.) As Gregory pointed out early on, the effect might merely be putting people in a better mood can help (or at least get rid of attitudes that would hinder) performance--which is not the claim the principal is making.

Even studies that find improvements in performance related to smelling peppermint wouldn't prove his assertion. Plus, it does sound like the study cited by the Smell Institute hasn't been successfully replicated.

Yep, I'd call it a woo claim.
__________________
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 05:47 PM   #30
Slimething
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 3,804
Originally Posted by phyz View Post
A Russian study supported by The Smell Institute seems every bit as authoritative as "reserch" promoted by The Tobacco Institute.
Phyz, don't be so hard on the Rooskies. I've placed work at Academy-related companies and I've gotten superlative work back. Devoid of working for the state, there are a lot of very good scientists in Russia looking for honest money. Believe me, they will be a force to contend with before too long.

Last edited by Slimething; 3rd May 2007 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Fixed quote
Slimething is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 05:51 PM   #31
Slimething
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 3,804
Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Yep, I'd call it a woo claim.
As you so eloquently wrote, if the claim were that any mood-elevating effect would improve performance, that is banal beyond reason. The claim made by the principal is kooky. However, I wouldn't argue with him or her if they offered me candy.
Slimething is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 06:47 PM   #32
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
I wonder if the American Dental Association has anything to say about passing out candy in school. . . .
__________________
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 07:04 PM   #33
articulett
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Las Vegas, NV (and the ethers of cyberspace)
Posts: 15,786
It sounds a lot like the Mozart for smarter kids campaign a while back. Maybe you should give the "performance enhancing" peppermints along with continual subliminal Mozart in the background?

Actually--the whole thing is weird and unethical. If you are doing a psychological study to see if peppermints improve performance, you would need to get permission. But if you just assume that it's a "proven fact", then you don't have to...

Exactly what sort of brain functioning are peppermints said to enhance? Does sprinkling students with cold water have a similar effect? How about a random blast of a horn or a laugh track? Is peppermint better than spearmint? And where does wint-o-green fit in? Are caffeinated peppermints even better? What if we told the students the peppermints were "smart pills" and that it was a "proven fact" that it would make them perform better? Would you be responsible for imagined "side effects"? How would you distinguish them from actual side effects given the paucity of understanding in those making the "proven fact" claim. It seems to me that if it's a "proven fact" that peppermints influence cognition...than it's an equally "proven fact" that it is a psychoactive agent and could have side effects.

Better save the peppermints for us, phyz. We'll be the guinea pigs.
articulett is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd May 2007, 07:30 PM   #34
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
Originally Posted by articulett View Post
It sounds a lot like the Mozart for smarter kids campaign a while back.
The Mozart Effect meets aromatherapy?
__________________
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2007, 08:32 AM   #35
Kaylee
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,157
Originally Posted by Senex View Post
Unlike prayer, pepperment candy can't hurt.
Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Tell that to the diabetic kid over there going into ketoacidosis.


I was trying to figure out how the effects of a crash after the sugar rush would help the test scores.
__________________
When everyone think alike, no one thinks very much. -- Walter Lippman
Kaylee is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2007, 10:05 AM   #36
billydkid
Illuminator
 
billydkid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Blanchester, OH
Posts: 4,930
Originally Posted by phyz View Post
From my principal:

"Dear Staff,
It is a proven fact that peppermint has been known to stimulate the human brain. In your STAR goody bag for tomorrow you will find peppermints for your testing students. Please be sure to hand one peppermint to each of your STAR testing students prior to taking the test."

He had me at "it is a proven fact."

STAR is Standardized Testing and Reporting here in California. Students are battered with tests in English, math, history/social science, and science. I responded with this from BrainConnection.com:

"Yet on the basis of [a] newspaper article, some teachers are giving their students peppermint candy because "research proves that candy improves memory." Is it any wonder that some neuroscientists are beginning to accuse educators of engaging in pseudoscience or worse, becoming "snake-oil salesmen" for products and programs that have no real scientific foundation?"

I added the conclusion that if we want test scores to go up, students will simply need to be better prepared for tests. No peppermint, incense, or incantations will help.

The irony is that tomorrow's tests are the science tests! And we're invoking woo!

Anyway, has anyone out there dealt with this Peppermyth?
I have been curious about the distinction between a proven fact and a mere fact.
__________________
Wasting away in Blanchester.
billydkid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2007, 03:34 PM   #37
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 19,138
Proven fact or scientific fact = fiction
fact = something probably true.
rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2007, 05:52 PM   #38
phyz
Muse
 
phyz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 969
Originally Posted by Slimething View Post
Phyz, don't be so hard on the Rooskies. I've placed work at Academy-related companies and I've gotten superlative work back. Devoid of working for the state, there are a lot of very good scientists in Russia looking for honest money. Believe me, they will be a force to contend with before too long.
I don't doubt that there are excellent scientists in Russia. But I also recall how easy it was for Randi to go to Russia and find white lab-coated woosters posing as scientists.

Like anywhere else, there's good and there's bad.
__________________
Dean Baird
Phyz Home Page - The Blog of Phyz - Images, Photographs, and Pix
Only dead fish go with the flow.
phyz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 4th May 2007, 06:03 PM   #39
Slimething
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 3,804
Originally Posted by phyz View Post
But I also recall how easy it was for Randi to go to Russia and find white lab-coated woosters posing as scientists.

Like anywhere else, there's good and there's bad.
I share your caution, too. I was damned petrified in putting work there at first but they acquited themselves admirably.

Two of my favorite visual memories were:
  1. The scene in the movie "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest" where Jack Nicholson is commandeering a boat to take his asylum friends for a ride. IIRC, the owners protested as they thought they were irresponsible but he pointed to them and described them as scientists. So, we scientists look like loonies but it was damned funny.
  2. The NOVA episode where Randi visits Russia and has a session with two psychics who claim to be able to read photographs. He gave them a photo of Ted Bundy, a nice clean cut young man. The psychics gushed about what a wonderful and nice person it was until Randi told them that he was an infamous serial killer. At that point, they claimed that Randi was deceitful and that he had led them to be incorrect.
Slimething is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th May 2007, 11:53 AM   #40
JoeTheJuggler
Penultimate Amazing
 
JoeTheJuggler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 27,765
Originally Posted by billydkid View Post
I have been curious about the distinction between a proven fact and a mere fact.
That's 'cause the proof comes from the Department of Redundancy Department. I went there yesterday at 6 a.m. in the morning. On the way I wanted to use the ATM machine, but I couldn't remember my PIN number. It was a most unique experience.
__________________
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way." —Ponder Stibbons
JoeTheJuggler is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » Education

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:36 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.