Over recent years, fidget spinners and other fidget toys have skyrocketed in popularity. Among the purported benefits of their use are increased concentration, improved memory, and decreased levels of stress. However, many educators and parents claim that they are merely distractions. With a growing number of primary schools banning fidget spinners, it is essential to investigate the science behind these trendy toys in order to either rationalize these bans or give reason to put them in the hands of more students. The purpose of this research study is to examine the previously unexplored impact that fidget spinners can have on acute stress. Twenty one participants were given two stressful arithmetic tests, one with a fidget spinner and the other without, to determine if there are differences in objective and subjective levels of stress as well as performance differences due to the use of the fidget spinner. Statistical analyses found that there were no significant differences between participant’s level of stress and performance when completing the arithmetic test with the fidget spinner versus without. Based on these results, fidget spinners may be ineffective for decreasing stress during anxiety-inducing situations. This research study additionally suggests further research questions into the science of fidget spinners concerning their use across different situations and age groups.
Abigale Ubiles is a senior pursuing a dual degree with a BS in Psychological Science and a BA in Teaching, Schools, and Society with a concentration in Advocacy. She has spent the Spring 2022 semester student teaching at Diggs-Latham Elementary in a Kindergarten classroom. Abigale hopes to continue teaching at the elementary level after graduation and begin working towards a Master's degree in School Counseling.