Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Studying?

Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Studying? 

During my freshman year at Penn State, my dad brought me a pack of mint gum because he saw an article about how gum can improve your studying habits. I thought he was crazy and I never looked into it. Until I recently have been trouble concentrating and I thought why not look more into this idea. I have heard that it helps you study for exams and I thought if that’s really the case, then I want to do it!

what-makes-bubblegum-blow-bubbles_7e1219c3-9e43-46f7-859b-648453e2fbd1 Image found here.

Study 1

The first study talks about the outcomes that chewing gum has on your overall mood, brain function and well being. This study also brought up how chewing gum can decrease stress in a person. The sample was 133 volunteers which were later divided in half. Half of the group tested in a quiet location while the other half tested in a more stressful location with loud noises. There were two flavors of gum given, mint and fruit. The volunteers were asked to list how they felt at the beginning and end of each session. The conclusion of this study was that chewing gum can in fact have a positive impact on people’s overall mood, brain function and well being.

There were a couple of things in this study that I would’ve done differently. The first thing is, the researchers didn’t take into account of any third variables such as the flavor of the gum or if the participants had any prior experiences with stress. Although I feel like the sample size wasn’t too large I can see how it might work more effectively with fewer participants. Rather than doing 133 people at once, break it up into a couple different studies and then compare answers.


Study 2

The second study talks about again how chewing gun can assist you in concentrating for activities such as schoolwork. The sample size for the study was 38 participants, split into two different groups. One group chewed gum while the other group didn’t. The experiment was to have the two different groups listening to random numbers, 1 – 9, being called out. The researchers themselves rated the participants on how well they listened and how long it took them to notice they were doing a pattern of odds and evens. The participants also completed a survey based on how they felt before and after the activity. The results conclude that chewing gum does help you concentrate!


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I came across this image and I thought it was pretty cool to see the differences between test averages of with gum versus without gum.


Take home message

The reason I used two different studies is to compare the two and get more insight on the topic. I can conclude from both studies that chewing gum can actually help you concentrate. This is important to know because I struggle with concentrating while doing things, like this blog post. (I just signed out of Facebook for the 3rd time! Whoops!) When looking back at the two studies, the first study pops out more to me because I feel like they did more to prove their point. By that I mean they actually tried two different flavors of gum as well as looked at how stress can play a factor in it. Another underlying potential problem is the confounding variables like IQ that were not taken into consideration. But overall I agree completely that chewing gum can help you concentrate!!


chewing_gum_good_or_bad_for_teeth Image found here.



7 thoughts on “Does Chewing Gum Actually Help Studying?

  1. Samantha Francesca Sichenze

    Awesome job! I like the way you first talk about a personal reflection, which leads you to choosing the topic and relating it to science. I also like how you broke up each study and the conclusion of the experiment. This topic caught my eye because I always have a piece of gum in my mouth. I truly believe that it helps me focus and concentrate. It all started after my first SAT in junior year. I saw the valedictorian of my class put in a fresh piece of gum when the proctor said “Begin.” This boy scored almost a perfect score. It inspired me to do the same. In this article,, it explains how gum can help your memory, which can lead to a better performance on a test. Based off studies, this theory seems to be true. I will forever keep chewing gum while trying to focus and study!

  2. Rebecca Aronow

    While I feel like I can personally attest to the idea that chewing gum improves concentration (I’m actually chewing gum right now and chew gum during most exams that I take), I don’t think that you can conclude from the two studies you cited that chewing gum does help you concentration. The reason that I wouldn’t conclude that so confidently from the first study is because 1) I actually disagree that trying two different gum flavors is beneficial 2) the study is relatively small and 3) the study was testing three things at once.

    I understand that doing a cross-over study allows you to look at more while using less resources and less time, but it also increases the amount of variables that are at play. In this first study for example, the researcher wasn’t just studying whether gum improved concentration and performance, but he was also looking at how it affects mood, if it decreases stress, and whether one’s chewing tendencies, the flavor of gum they’re chewing and how anxious they are changes the affect that the gum has. Instead of trying to measure all of these variables at once, I think it would have made the study more reliable to focus on one variable—let’s say, for the sake of keeping with the theme of your blog post, he stuck with gum’s affect on mental performance. If he did this, he would then control for those other variables that instead he is trying to measure. On top of that, the study is also relatively small with just 133 subjects.

    The second study is small as well with just 38 participants and it does not mention if third variables were controlled for. Although the people may have been randomly split into two groups, were these participants all students since the study was done at a University? Were they all in the same major? Did they all have similar grade point averages? We weren’t told any of this information. So while I definitely think that these studies show a relationship between chewing gum and increased mental performance, I wouldn’t draw a hard conclusion that chewing gum definitely helps studying.

  3. Xueyao Cao

    I really like this blog post here. I know some high schools banned gums in classes because it acts as a distraction in class, and I always believe that until I read your post.
    It is really nice that you found out two studies related to the topic. I totally agree with your thought on the first study. It makes me think about the article we read about in our second class test. It is really hard to measure something like mood and feelings so that might be an issue for this study as well. The second study contains a control group and an experimental group, which makes the result easier to analyse. As you said the third variables need to be consider in those studies, but I think it is a good starting point. I found out another study related to this topic, which you might want to check out.

  4. Olivia Anne Browne

    Great post. I had always heard in my psychology classes that gum or mints will have you focus. Personally I think it does but then again what do I know. I really like how you analyzed more than one study that was really insightful. It definitely made me happy to see that these studies both conclude that gum does help concentration, because I swear on it. Now what I would like to know is if the flavor has anything to do with it! That would be another good topic.
    Check out this article on peppermint flavor simulating the brain.

  5. Zihan Wang

    Hi, Cristen Heaton. these two things seems like unrelated before I read your blog. When I read your blog at the beginning, I feel so curious, because I want to know how physical action affect people’s emotion. For your first experiment, you clearly express the advantage and disadvantage: there is no confounding in this experiment. Being more persuasive, a survey should have three relationships: direct, reverse, and confounding. I think you have definitely right on this experiment. In addition, you also give a direct conclusion of experiment two that chewing does helps concentrate. The chart illustrate your completion well. By the way, if I can’t concentrate my mind in the future, I will try your way and use your conclusion to solve distraction. Here is a video for your topic

    1. Hannah Margaret Mears

      The way this blog is written makes it easier to side with you on your conclusion. I think it is great that you used two different studies to try and prove your point on how chewing gum can help you concentrate. However this question made me wonder, what other wacky methods can help someone concentrate while studying? Of course confounders like IQ, subject of study, and personality type need to be considered in the overall study, but in general it would be interesting to see what types of study tricks people use to concentrate longer. I found a site that listed chewing gum amongst other possible concentrating tips that can help one study better. It was fascinating to see little tips to help memorize and learn information.

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