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Nutr Neurosci. 2013 Jul;16(4):153-9. doi: 10.1179/1476830512Y.0000000041. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

Chewing gum benefits sustained attention in the absence of task degradation.

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  • 1Psychology Research Centre, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK.



The present study examined the effect of chewing gum on sustained attention and associated changes in subjective alertness.


In a within-participants design, 20 participants completed an extended version of the sustained attention response task (SART: Robertson et al., 1997), both with and without chewing gum. Self-rated measures of alertness, contentedness, and calmness were taken before and after the SART.


Chewing gum was associated with improved attentional task performance. This finding was not contingent upon a general decrease in attentional performance and was apparent at all stages of the task. Subjective measures of alertness, contentedness, and calmness were higher following the chewing of gum. Changes in sustained attention co-varied with subjective alertness.


The effects of chewing gum on attention and alertness are consistent with past literature and were not contingent on declines in attention. Additionally, we found evidence that gum-induced changes in self-rated alertness and attention are related. We found no support for the proposition that chewing gum can impair attention due to the division of resources.

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