The Connection Between Gum and Better Learning Performance

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?history-of-chewing-gum

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.” 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.


3 thoughts on “The Connection Between Gum and Better Learning Performance

  1. cmt5658

    This is so interesting because for some reason out of habit, I chew gum whenever I take a test because I find it helps keeping me focused. However, I never knew there was science behind it. A way to further advance this blog is to look into the concept of chewing gum while studying, will help increase scores on the actual test. This link provides a study done ( where students and performed better on the tests if they chewed gum both before and during. However, it also says the gum only helps with some memory and recall.

  2. Trae Vann Morgan-White

    I definitely believe that chewing gum doesn’t have anything to do with the ingredients, but the act of chewing helps with focus on learning. This affected me more in high school because every report period I had exams, and usually my high school prohibited gum. However, during our exams, we were able to chew gum. I believe it helps us stay focused and it helps improve our learning performances. I like that you use evidence of the effects of sugary gum. Nice article!

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