Chewing Gum Boosts Alertness, Study Finds

This annoying habit, as some label it, actually helps the brain

By on February 4th, 2013 18:41 GMT

According to a new research project whose findings were published in the scientific journal Brain and Cognition, those who chew gum on a regular basis are quite likely to be more alert than their fellow non-chewers are.

This is because the process of chewing gum is much more than an annoying habit, as some might label it. To cut a long story short, the Japanese researchers who have looked into this issue argue that chewing gum is highly beneficial for the brain.

More precisely, it looks like those who keep a piece of gum in their mouth and constantly toy with it can think faster than those whose mouths are empty.

Furthermore, the study published by these Japanese scientists maintains that chewing gum also makes one's reactions to changes in their surrounding environment 10% faster than they would normally be.

Daily Mail
informs us that, while commenting on the results of their study, the researchers made a case of how, “Our results suggest that chewing induced an increase in the arousal level and alertness in addition to an effect on motor control and, as a consequence, these effects could lead to improvements in cognitive performance.”

In order to reach these conclusions, the scientists asked several volunteers to alternate chewing and not chewing gum for a previously established period of thirty minutes.

As well as this, they made sure they closely monitored the volunteers' brain activity while the latter were busy carrying out said task.

At one point, the volunteers were asked to press a button either with their left, or with their right hand, depending on what an arrow on the screen indicated.

Apparently, the volunteers performed better while chewing gum, meaning that their brains were more alert and their reactions were faster.

Joking about these findings, Professor Andy Smith, currently working with the Cardiff University, argued as follows: “The effects of chewing on reaction time are profound. Perhaps football managers arrived at the idea of chewing gum by accident, but they seem to be on the right track.”

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