Chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks that require continuous monitoring.
This is the finding of new research by Kate Morgan and colleagues from Cardiff University.
Previous research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks. This study focussed on the potential benefits of chewing gum during an audio memory task.
Kate Morgan, author of the study explained: "It's been well established by previous research that chewing gum can benefit some areas of cognition. In our study we focussed 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 end of the task.
Kate explained: "Interestingly 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."
The above story is based on the March 8, 2013 news release by British Psychological Society (BPS).
The study has been published online in the British Journal of Psychology:
Kate Morgan, Andrew J. Johnson and Christopher Miles. Chewing gum moderates the vigilance decrement. Brit J Psychol. DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12025
Chewing Gum Etiquette
Use common sense to know where to chew your gum, keep your noise level down so you're not distracting to someone else, and always dispose of your gum in a waste bin when you are finished with it. Following these simple rules will keep your manners in tip top shape should you choose to chew some gum.
Click HERE for more on Chewing Gum Etiquette by Trent Armstrong.