Many studies have been done to show the connection between chewing gum and academic performance and also, in general, alertness. In this study the subjects brought in were involved in a double unblinded placebo test. Half of the subjects were given chewing gum while the other half were not. This study was held for the duration of a few weeks. There were two sessions and each assessed different information. Both concerned one’s mood, information retention, and testing one’s memory. This particular study found that chewing gum did increase a person’s alertness and also helped while taking an exam. I find this interesting because just what about chewing gum improves these functions?
Some may assume that the sugar in gum is the main reason that it boosts alertness. However, studies have been conducted with sugar free gum and seemed to have gotten the same, or similar, responses. So what is it then? It’s actually the act of chewing that improves all these functions. The movement of one’s jaw while chewing gum helps to wake the body and mind. But, it’s only temporary. A few studies have said that improved learning functions due to chewing gum is usually only effective for about 20-30 minutes. Interestingly enough, the flavor of the gum can have a part on the effectiveness of it on the mind and body as well. Studies have shown that the mint flavor is the most effective for improving people’s level of tiredness (Lehrer). Many double blind and unblind placebo tests have been done on this and all lead to similar conclusions, here is another example.
While there are many benefits to chewing gum, there are also many disadvantages. For example, sugary gum can be bad for your teeth. If you chew gum a lot, consider switching to sugar free. Additionally it can hurt your jaw from all the chewing. Yes, it may be helpful cognitively for the first 20 minutes, but after that it could end up hurting your jaw. The take away message here is that although there may be some downsides to gum, it can definitely improve your cognitive functions for a little bit and may have a great impact on your long term memory.
Konie, Robin. “Chewing Gum Is Bad: 7 Reasons to Quit.” Thank Your Body. N.p., 13 Apr. 2016. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
Lehrer, Jonah. “The Cognitive Benefits Of Chewing Gum.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
Smith, A. “Effects of Chewing Gum on Cognitive Function, Mood and Physiology in Stressed and Non-stressed Volunteers.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
Smith, Andrew. “Nutritional Neuroscience.” Effects of Chewing Gum on Mood, Learning, Memory and Performance of an Intelligence Test: : Vol 12, No 2. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
Tucha, Olivia. “Chewing Gum Differentially Affects Aspects of Attention in Healthy Subjects.” Chewing Gum Differentially Affects Aspects of Attention in Healthy Subjects. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.