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Can Chewing Gum Before Test Boost Grade?

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 2, 2011

Can Chewing Gum Before Test Boost Grade?Good news for students and worrying parents as researchers discover a quick and easy method to boost final exam scores.

In a new study, researchers determined chewing gum for five minutes before taking a test improves test scores. However, students should use the initial boost judiciously as the benefits extend for only the first 15-20 minutes of the testing.

St. Lawrence University psychologist Dr. Serge Onyper conducted a study that showed that students who chewed gum for five minutes before taking a test did better on the test than non-gum-chewing students.

“Mastication-induced arousal” is credited for the boost, which lasted for about the first 20 minutes or so of testing. Results of the study were published in the journal Appetite.

Researchers administered a “battery of cognitive tasks” to the study participants, who chewed gum either prior to or throughout testing. Their performance was then compared with subjects who did not chew gum.

Researchers believe the mastication process is essentially a form of exercise. As such, the results supporting many other studies that have shown any type of physical activity can produce a performance boost.

Chewing gum gave the subjects multiple advantages, but only when chewed for five minutes before testing, not for the duration of the test. Benefits persisted for the first 15 to 20 minutes of testing only.

Onyper notes that a possible reason the benefits didn’t continue throughout testing may be due to “a sharing of resources by cognitive and masticatory processes.”

In other words, you can’t chew gum and think productively at the same time.

Source: St. Lawrence University

Chewing gum photo by shutterstock.

 

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2011). Can Chewing Gum Before Test Boost Grade?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/02/can-chewing-gum-before-test-boost-grade/32126.html