Just Remember, Chew Gum
Chewing gum could help students to do better in exams, a new study has reported.
Researchers have found that the act of chewing improves short and long term memory
by up to 85 per cent.
Lucy Wilkinson and Dr Andrew Scholey, who carried out the study at the University
of Northumbria, believe the gentle exercise of chewing may be enough to boost a
person’s heart rate and increase the flow of oxygen to the brain.
Chewing may also trigger the release of insulin in the body, which could increase the
uptake of blood sugar by the brain.
A paper presented this week at the British Psychological Society conference in
Blackpool said 75 people were put through a series of memory and attention tests.
A third chewed gum while carrying out the tests and a third were asked to pretend to
chew. The rest did not chew at all.
For part of the test the volunteers were given a list of 15 words and asked to recall
them immediately and again after 25 minutes.
The chewers did significantly better than the others, remembering an average of eight
or nine words immediately after hearing the list. The non chewers and “sham chewers”
only remembered six or seven words.
Chewing also improved longer-term memory. The chewers were able to remember an
average of seven words after 25 minutes, as against five for the other groups.