Cinnamomum verum and its Effects on the Visual Motor Speed
Presented by: 
Anna Patterson
Undergraduate/Pre-Medical Student
University of Pennsylvania
Ranyah Khan, Anna Patterson
University of Pennsylvania 
Abstract:
 

Cinnamon is used in a variety of cuisines, herbal supplements, teas, and other unique variations. Use of it as a spice dates back thousands of years and is primarily found in the lower regions of Asia in places like Sri Lanka and India. This experiment was designed to examine the effects of cinnamon on visual-motor reflexes. It was hypothesized that the longer a participant smelt cinnamon the faster their reflex time would be. Participants were used as an internal control to check their base reflexes when initially unexposed to cinnamon, before repeating the experiment with the smell of cinnamon diffusing through the air. This was recorded using an online computer program provided by Washington University that functions as a click the button test. Participants had to press the button every time they saw a computerized traffic light turn green. We then calculated the changes in visual-motor response time in intervals of two minutes for ten minutes. The means and standard deviation of each trial for each participant was calculated through both a calculator and the computer program. Most participants showed similar trends in their results with only a few outliers. Afterwards, the means were compared which revealed a gradual decrease in reflex time and statistically significant data with a P-value of 0.0026, which supports our hypothesis that the smell of cinnamon decreases reflex response time. This can support the idea that cinnamon may be utilized in everyday activities to enhance mental abilities and may act as a significant stimulant to prevent drowsy driving. The experiment did not account for reflex acclimation, however, which may provide a possible source of error in our data set.

 

Keywords: Cinnamon, Behavior, Reflex

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