Assignment: Breakfast Intake and Memory Retention Essay

Assignment: Breakfast Intake and Memory Retention Essay

Assignment  Breakfast Intake and Memory Retention Essay

Numerous researchers have documented the need to consume breakfast (Ho et al., 2015). Breakfast is referred to as the most important meal of the day because of the duration taken between an evening meal and the next day’s breakfast. Skipping breakfast is associated with metabolic changes that interfere with school performance and cognitive function (Ho et al., 2015). Research indicates that children who consume breakfast before heading to school have a double chance of performing better in tests than those who report to school on an empty stomach. The purpose of this paper is to provide a research proposal that seeks to find out if breakfast consumption enhances memory retention. The paper will provide a problem statement and a hypothesis that will guide the study. Additionally, it will offer a methodology section that will discuss the participants of the study, materials and instruments used, the procedure followed and the study design adopted.

Breakfast is an essential meal for every child. Its consumption has a positive effect on school performance, behavior and cognition (Anzman-Frasca et al., 2015). It enhances creativity in the classroom and maximizes performance level. In contrast, failure to consume breakfast leaves children distracted from learning and makes them give up easily when challenges occur. Research executed indicates that students who do not take breakfast have increased errors and slower memory recall. Equally intake of breakfast before class time or test-taking time has a positive effect on standardized test performance compared to skipping breakfast. Intake of breakfast enhances math, reading and spelling score and the performance is better for schools that offer School Breakfast Program. Intake of breakfast also reduces the number of visits to the school nurses as well as better weight-related outcomes like decreased risk of obesity, lesser chances of becoming chronically obese, lower waist circumference and lower BMI (Adolphus, Lawton & Dye, 2015).

Children who miss breakfast either at home or school are reported to have learning problems. Hunger results in low math scores, academic, emotional, and behavioral problems as well as attention problems. Research reveals that children who consistently fail to take breakfast tend to repeat a grade (Corcoran, Elbel & Schwartz, 2016). Poor performance is what has encouraged many schools to adopt the School Breakfast program as a way of enhancing the learning abilities and performance of the students. The programs avail breakfast to students. Students themselves have reported that taking breakfast not only increases their energy but also enables them to concentrate in the class. The school program ensures that students get sufficient breakfast which makes them work faster, reduce errors in math problems and perform better on vocabulary tests (Adolphus, Lawton & Dye, 2015). The students also report better concentration, learning, memory, comprehension and alertness. Apart from academic inclination, intake of breakfast is linked to reduced hyperactivity, depression and anxiety.Assignment  Breakfast Intake and Memory Retention Essay

Looking at laboratory studies executed, it is clear that breakfast affects cognition information an aspect that can be easily deduced from controlled studies. An example is a study conducted in Israel where participating children were given a standard test and they were randomly offered school breakfast or not for two weeks. The children were then given a repeat battery of cognitive tests. The results were that children who consumed school breakfast performed better in the tests compared to children who did not receive breakfast regardless of whether they had taken breakfast at home or not (Anzman-Frasca et al, 2015). Additionally, in another study, children were observed whether they attended to the task at hand or not. They were also assessed whether they talking when not prompted, participating in class activities s or fidgeting and moving around. The observations were done for four half-hour periods consisting of structured teaching and working at a set task. The study found out that children were more on task and they fidgeted and moved less after consuming breakfast.

Lastly in another study, students from two different schools were assessed. The study matched a school offering breakfast and another that did not provide breakfast to its students and compared the progress of the children. In schools that received breakfast, the students were heavier, scored higher in arithmetic, had higher IQs compared to the school that did not provide breakfast to its students (Corcoran, Elbel & Schwartz, 2016). In a similar study done in South Africa, children in the school that received breakfast had better tests score.

From existing studies, it is clear that intake of breakfast enhances school performance, learning and energy. It is then essential to investigate further to confirm whether eating breakfast help students better in school. A comparison of test scores of students who regularly take breakfast and those who do not would help in answering the research hypothesis. The hypothesis proposed is that the intake of breakfast increases memory retention.

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The study will consist of female students aged 15 to 19 years. The participants will be recruited from a private school in the region. The

Assignment Breakfast Intake and Memory Retention Essay
Assignment Breakfast Intake and Memory Retention Essay

study targets 20 participants. The convenience sampling technique will be used to select participants who regularly skip breakfast or consume less than five times per week. Convenient sampling is selected because subjects can be easily recruited for a study and the idea is not to get a subject that represents the entire population but rather to prove the hypothesis (Etikan, Musa & Alkassim, 2016). The student population is equally too large which makes it hard to include every individual. The sampling technique is also easy, fast and inexpensive and the subjects are readily available.

The students’ weight will be recorded as well as their height. The recorded figures will then be used to calculate the BMI of the students. The figure obtained will help in classifying the students in terms of underweight, normal weight range, overweight and obese. The selected participants will fill a questionnaire and then their report will indicate whether they will be included in the study. Exclusion from the experiment will be incomplete answers as well as the presence of health and cognition problems that affect performance and cognition like migraines.  The selected schools will have studying hours between 7.30 in the morning to 2.30 in the afternoon and will have to be following a curriculum assigned by the ministry of education.

Materials/ Instruments

The research will rely on self-reported information from the students. Data will be collected using a self-administered questionnaire. The information then will be used to correlate breakfast consumption with mental retention. The questionnaire will collect data like demographic factors, anthropometric measurements, breakfast intake and frequency of intake. The questionnaire will also be pretested and revised to increase its comprehension and clarity. The questionnaire is selected because it offers a series of questions that helps a researcher gather information from respondents. Questionnaires offer a cheap, quick and efficient way of collecting information from a large sample (Song, Son & Oh, 2015). They also apply when direct interviews are not practical. The instrument can be used to assess intentions, opinions, preferences, attitudes and behavior in a population. They, however, are problematic because respondents may choose to lie due to social desirability (Song, Son & Oh, 2015). The current participants may lie that they take breakfast to avoid being stigmatized or others may say they do not take breakfast as a measure to maintain a specific body type.

To reduce biases, close-ended questionnaires will be used. The questionnaires are selected because they offer information that can be changed into quantitative data allowing one to statistically analyze the responses. The questions are also standardized which means that all the participants will be asked similar questions. It is also easy to check for the reliability of the close-ended questionnaires since they can be replicated easily (Song, Son & Oh, 2015). The results obtained from the research can be confirmed by another researcher for consistency. The only setback is that the responses are fixed and the participants will not get a chance to give answers that reflect their true feelings.

The study will also require fifty random unique objects like mirror, book, banana, umbrella, table, pen, calendar, watch, orange, phone among others. The objects will be the one used to test the memory retention capabilities of the selected participants. A stopwatch will also be needed, 40 sheets of paper, pencils, and breakfast supply for 20 students for twenty-one days and two curtains.


To execute the study, the protocol will have to get approval from the Research Ethics Committee and permission granted by the Education Council. Ethical approval is necessary because it ensures that research maximizes benefits and minimizes the risk of harm (Gelling, 2016). The committee reviews the research process to affirm that it is beneficial to the participants. Apart from protecting the participants, the ethical review protects the researchers because it demonstrates that they have adhered to accepted ethical standards of a genuine research study.

Once the approval has been given, convenient sampling will be used to select the participants from the chosen school. The selected students will then be provided with informed consent forms before participating in the study. Informed consent refers to the process of informing the potential research participants of the research study elements and what is expected of them (Gelling, 2016). It is a central component required when one is executing research that deals with human subjects. The participants have to sign the informed consent document.

After providing their consent, the participants’ weight and height will be recorded in the respective questionnaires and then they will fill the questionnaire which will provide details demographic factors, breakfast intake and frequency of intake. Students who will not offer complete answers and will report health problems will be excluded from the study.

After the required 20 participants have been established, they will then begin the experiment to assess whether intake of breakfast has a positive effect on memory retention. The independent variable for the study will be whether the students take breakfast every day while the dependent variables will be the participants’ ability to recall a list of objects previously provided. The participants will have to record the name of the objects observed. The constant for the experiments will be the number of objects as well as time provided for one to observe the objects and record them.

The objects will then be divided into two groups of twenty-five objects. The first set will be arranged in a table in front of a classroom while the second set will be placed at another table at the back of the same classroom. The two tables will then be covered using the curtains to ensure that participants do not see the object before the test begin. The selected students who skip breakfast or do not take it at least five times a day will then be taken to the classroom with the set tables. Once in the classroom, the curtain covering the front table will be removed to reveal the 25 objects. The 20 students will then be allowed to view the object for two minutes. An assistant will be checking the time on the stopwatch to ensure that the students take exactly two minutes to view the objects. The objects will then be covered again after the two minutes are over and the students provided with a pencil and sheet of paper to record the objects they recall seeing. The paper will then be collected after ten minutes. The correct objects listed by each student will be consolidated and recorded in a table.

After the test, the twenty students will be provided with free breakfast for twenty-one days. On the 21st day, the students will be brought in the room again and then they curtain covering the table at the back removed. The students will observe the objects for two minutes and then they will be provided with a pencil and sheet of paper to record the objects they can recall. The papers will be collected after ten minutes and the correct number of items indicated by each student recorded in a second row below the numbers recorded during the first test.

Once the experiment is completed, the results will be plotted in a graph and analyzed descriptively and inferentially using SPSS software. The data will help in establishing if taking breakfast enhances memory retention. Correlation and regression will be calculated and interpreted to check whether the variables have any statistical significance.


The study will adopt an experimental design. Experimental design refers to a study where participants are subjected to varying conditions in an experiment (Goodwin, C & Goodwin, K, 2016). Normally, experimental design is executed by dividing the subjects into two groups, the experimental group and the control group. The researcher then introduces an intervention to the experimental group and does not provide one to the control group. For the current research, the use of the experimental group and control group is hard due to the ethics surrounding the provision of food to one group and denying the other group. Additionally feeding children is a politically and emotionally sensitive topic which makes it hard to place children in control groups. The child welfare also may have their vested interest and thus a conflict of interest may arise. Researchers have tried to compare participants with non-participants however the study only provided false results because children who choose to consume breakfast have varying characteristics with those who skip breakfast (Anzman-Frasca et al., 2015).

Apart from using a control group, a researcher can opt to use repeated measures. The participants are subjected to both conditions and then their differences noted. The experimental design is known as within groups and it ensures that participants are part of each condition of the independent variable (Goodwin, C & Goodwin, K, 2016). The advantage of this design is that participant variables are reduced since similar participants are used for each condition. The design also requires the use of fewer people and thus saves time. The only challenge is order effects where participants perform better in the second condition since they know what to do. The current study will adopt a repeated measures design to ensure that ethics are observed and participants are subjected to similar conditions.

The design is selected because one can control the situation and therefore provide an answer in what causes an outcome to occur. A researcher is also able to establish the cause and effects relationship between variables as well as limit alternative explanations (Goodwin, C & Goodwin, K, 2016). The design also helps a researcher to infer a direct causal relationship. It also offers the highest level of evidence for single studies. The only shortcoming is that the results obtained may not be generalizable to a large population. Additionally, experiments tend to change subject responses and behaviors.


Breakfast is an essential meal for every child because it is linked to better performance, behavior, and cognition. Missing breakfast, on the other hand, results in learning problems, attention problems as well tendency to repeat a grade. Even executed research support the fact that taking breakfast results in better performance in tests. Additionally, schools that provide breakfast to their students have many of their students sticking to tasks given and concentrating in class. The need to confirm this assertion led to the creation of this study to test whether students who consume breakfast have better memory retention. The study expects to get twenty female students from a private school after getting approval from the ethics board and the education board. Through convenience sampling, the students will be selected and provided with consent form and questionnaire to help in collecting anthropometric measures, breakfast intake data and frequency.

Once the participants are selected, they will be given a test to identify random objects when they are hungry and their performance recorded. They will then be provided with breakfast for twenty-one days and on the 21st day, they will be subjected to the test again to gauge their performance. The results will be compared for any statistical significance and inferred to answer whether intake of breakfast affects memory retention. The study will adopt an experimental design where repeated measures will be applied. The design is selected because the study cannot use a control group and thus all participants will be subjected to similar conditions. The research also requires fewer participants and offers the highest level of evidence for single studies. The only shortcoming is that the results cannot be generalized to a large population. Nevertheless, the result obtained will help in answering the study hypothesis and prove whether intake of breakfast has a positive effect on memory retention.

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