New study shows chewing gum actually hinders short-term memory
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Unlike high-fructose corn syrup which has been linked to decreased learning ability and memory function (on top of the inherent dangers of genetically modified foods), it appears that chewing gum actually lessens one’s ability to memorize lists of letters and numbers compared to someone who avoids gum.
Setting aside the potential negative health effects from aspartame and just chewing sugary gum all day long, this should be a good reason to drop your incessant gum chewing if you have not been able to give it up simply because people often find it irritating.
The researchers who conducted the study – published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology – believe that it is actually the chewing motion which makes it more difficult for the brain to effectively and accurately memorize serial lists.
Some proponents of chewing gum claim that it actually improves concentration by triggering more blood flow to the brain, according to the lead author of the study, Michail Kozlov.
However, their research discovered that gum chewing, and potentially other oral activities, could actually be interfering with the cognitive processes normally utilized to remember content exchanged verbally.
They found this through putting individuals through a range of classic memory challenges which focus on short-term retention both with and without gum.
One such test involved subjects being instructed to chew gum vigorously while remembering sequences of letters in a random order while another group was told to do the same thing while chewing normally.
Another experiment involved chewing flavorless gum while engaging in a task involving finding a missing item in a sequence, such as the missing digit in the following list of digits from 0 through 9: 019248365 (hint: it’s 7).
Oddly enough, chewing vigorously or in a more natural manner didn’t seem to make a bit of difference.
The researchers found that “chewing has an overall adverse affect on serial recall.”
Even more strange is that flavored gum might actually make a difference, as indicated by previous studies.
The proponents Kozlov was likely hinting at above were the researchers involved in a study conducted in 2002 in which subjects who chewed mint-flavored gum actually showed improved performance on short-term memory tasks compared to those who did not.
However, it appears that once the gum becomes flavorless, the beneficial effects disappear.
“It seems advisable that chewing gum is only considered a performance enhancer as long as its flavor lasts,” said the researchers according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
It appears that flavorless gum lacks the effects of flavored gum when it comes to triggering increased brain blood flow, according to the researchers, although Kozlov’s findings indicate that the effects might actually be negated by the act of chewing itself.
Hopefully this will mean you’ll hear less annoying gum chewing and snapping in the near future but considering the fact that the UCLA research linked above relating to high-fructose corn syrup likely won’t get people to stop drinking soda, I doubt people who love to chew gum will stop over a new study.
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