Can chewing gum make me smarter?


| 8 Comments

chewing gum.jpg

(image courtesy of Getty Images)

 

Growing up, I always heard different beliefs on the correlation between chewing gum and test scores, and I would think to myself if any of them were actually true, or if kids would just say that chewing gum allowed them to do better in school so they would actually be allowed to chew gum in class. I decided to research the topic because I know these days, with grades and test performances becoming more and more competitive, students will do whatever it takes to get a leg up on the competition.

 

I came across two different articles on the topic. One, which can be found here, was conducted a couple years back by the Baylor College of Medicine. Back in 2009, the well known company, Wrigley Chewing Gum, said that by chewing their sugar free gum, kids will do better in school. Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine found that it was likely that chewing this gum would cause students to become less stressful and focus on their academics more. Also, a study was conducted with 108 eighth grade students in four math classes where half would chew gum in school and at home doing homework, and the others did not chew gum at all. The students who chewed gum saw an increase in their test scores compared to those who didn't chew.

 

I found it interesting when I came across another article  that described a study done within the last year that says chewing gum can help with academic performance if it is done before taking the test. Jennifer Welsh, from LiveScience describes that "the chewing motion gets blood flowing to the head, where it improves memory. The effect only lasted a few minutes, but researchers think chewing gum before a test could give students an advantage in some ways." A study tested 224 undergraduates from St. Lawrence University, dividing them into three groups where one chewed gum before and during the test, another chewed gum for five minutes before being tested and a third didn't chew anything. Then, the researchers gave them a battery of tests to determine their brainpower. Researchers found that the students who chewed five minutes before, actually had improved performance on the test, but only for a short period right after chewing.

 

So what do you guys think? Do you think that chewing gum can help you on your tests, or do you think it is more of a myth. Obviously, there are many other factors that go into doing well in school, but I found it interesting that some researchers believe that chewing gum before an exam can help more that during. I would be curious to see any other studies done on this topic.

 

Also check out this article from some young students point of view on the issue of chewing gum!

 

8 Comments

i think it's pretty hard to tell whether or not chewing gum before a test will help your performance. Personally speaking, chewing gum helps calm me down. During tests, if I am nervous, I tend to fidget, shake my leg and tap my pencil on the desk repeatedly. When I chew gum during a test, those behaviors don't happen. I just came to the assumption that I was putting my energy elsewhere (Into gum chewing, as opposed to fidgeting, or shaking my leg).

You mentioned that there are many other factors that go into doing well in school. I agree with this 100%. I think that a study that manipulated those factors would produce better results as well. For example, eating before an exam is very important. In addition, people's methods of studying are also a critical factor to take into consideration. Most people who take their time studying perform really well on exams. Others who cram for one exam may perform well on that specific exam, but not on others that follow because they haven't retained any of the information.

What other factors do you think could be manipulated to present a more reliable study on chewing gum and academic performance?

Honestly, I dont know if chewing gum help improve test scores. Personally I know that when I chew gum it makes me hungry and this could be a little distracting when you are tryna take a test. But maybe if I ate breakfast before tests I wouldnt mind chewing gum without distractions.

I found your blog post to be very interesting. However, it reminded me of a test tip that I was told early on in high school. Chewing MINT gum can be beneficial to concentration, and therefore test scores. According to this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/19/AR2007031901624.html), "researchers at University of Cincinnati found that a whiff of peppermint or muguet, a scent similar to lily of the valley, helped test subjects concentrate and do better on tasks that required sustained concentration". Because of this, I almost always chew mint gum when taking a test or quiz while in class. The facts your presented in your post remain true, but I figure the mint aspect can't hurt, right?

Personally, I really think that chewing gum does help you focus during tests. I can't be sure, though, if that's because it increases blood flow to the brain, or if it's more of a mental trick that gives you an outlet for your nervous energy, like Jael mentioned.

What I really find interesting is your second article that says it's more beneficial to chew gum before a test, rather than during. I would have thought that continuing to chew gum throughout the duration of the test would keep the brain stimulated and focused, but, as the article says, the study found there was more of a 20-minute window in which the effect thrives. After this time period, performance tends to slide back to normal.

The study also mentions that the group that chewed gum the whole time didn't do as well as the group that chewed gum beforehand because "the extra brainpower it takes to actually chew the gum takes away from the brain's ability to take the tests." I have to disagree with this idea - chewing gum is not something that requires a ton of effort and focus, at least not enough to distract someone from taking a test.

This is a very interesting blog post topic. I find it ironic that in most schools, there is a rule against chewing gum. I have heard before that it is supposed to help with test scores. I personally find myself chewing gum regularly in class. I find that chewing gum actually relaxes me. Check out this article out about a study done at the university of baylor. http://www.theleonian.com/news/2012/01/25/studies-say-chew-gum-in-school/
Also, a lot of what I read about this "sugar free" gum was proven effective. What about gum that contains sugar?

This is a very interesting blog post topic. I find it ironic that in most schools, there is a rule against chewing gum. I have heard before that it is supposed to help with test scores. I personally find myself chewing gum regularly in class. I find that chewing gum actually relaxes me. Check out this article out about a study done at the university of baylor. http://www.theleonian.com/news/2012/01/25/studies-say-chew-gum-in-school/
Also, a lot of what I read about this "sugar free" gum was proven effective. What about gum that contains sugar?

I've always heard that chewing gum would help you do well on a test because it would relieve some of your stress, enabling you to think more clearly. This 2008 study by Wrigley seems to confirm that:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/119826.php

This is a very interesting blog post topic. I find it ironic that in most schools, there is a rule against chewing gum. I have heard before that it is supposed to help with test scores. I personally find myself chewing gum regularly in class. I find that chewing gum actually relaxes me. Check out this article out about a study done at the university of baylor. http://www.theleonian.com/news/2012/01/25/studies-say-chew-gum-in-school/
Also, a lot of what I read about this "sugar free" gum was proven effective. What about gum that contains sugar?

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Alcohol and Energy Drinks
We've all heard of Four Lokos (or "blackout in a can") and the drama surrounding them when they first came…
It isn't up to the Keratin
Many girls who have naturally curly, wavy, or frizzy hair have started looking into getting keratin treatments at their local…
It isn't up to the Keratin
Many girls who have naturally curly, wavy, or frizzy hair have started looking into getting keratin treatments at their local…

Old Contributions