Something to chew over
8 March 2013
Chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks that require continuous monitoring.
This is the finding of new research co-authored by Dr Chris Miles of the Cardiff School of Psychology, published today in the British Journal of Psychology.
Previous research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks. This study focused on the potential benefits of chewing gum during an audio memory task.
It's been well established by previous research that chewing gum can benefit some areas of cognition. The study focused on an audio task that involved short-term memory recall to see if chewing gum would improve concentration; especially in the latter stages of the task.
The study involved 38 participants being split in to two groups. Both groups completed a 30 minute audio task that involved listening to a list of numbers from 1-9 being read out in a random manner.
Participants were scored on how accurately and quickly they were able to detect a sequence of odd-even-odd numbers, such as 7-2-1. Participants also completed questionnaires on their mood both before and after the task.
The results showed that participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than the participants who didn't chew gum. This was especially the case towards the latter parts of the task.
Participants who didn't chew gum performed slightly better at the beginning of the task but were overtaken by the end. This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time.