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Appetite. 2004 Jun;42(3):327-9.

Chewing gum differentially affects aspects of attention in healthy subjects.

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Institute of Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany.


In a study published previously in this journal (Wilkinson et al., 2002), the effect of chewing gum on cognitive functioning was examined. The results of this study indicated that chewing a piece of gum results in an improvement of working memory and of both immediate and delayed recall of words but not of attention. In the present study, memory and a variety of attentional functions of healthy adult participants were examined under four different conditions: no chewing, mimicking chewing movements, chewing a piece of tasteless chewing gum and chewing a piece of spearmint flavoured chewing gum. The sequence of conditions was randomised across participants. The results showed that the chewing of gum did not improve participants' memory functions. Furthermore, chewing may differentially affect specific aspects of attention. While sustained attention was improved by the chewing of gum, alertness and flexibility were adversely affected by chewing. In conclusion, claims that the chewing a gum improves cognition should be viewed with caution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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