Posted on Jun 12, 2012, 6 a.m.
Results of a new set of experiments suggest that chewing gum has a negative impact on short-term memory.
Previous studies have suggested that chewing gum was helpful in improving memory recall. However, results of a recent set of experiments by Michail Kozlov and colleagues at Cardiff University (UK) suggest that this is not the case, and that chewing gum actually impairs short-term memory. The researchers conducted three experiments to investigate the impact of chewing gum on short-term memory. For the first, 40 students were asked to vigorously chew flavorless gum and remember a sequence of seven randomly ordered letters. A smaller sample group were then asked to repeat the experiment but chew naturally. For the second experiment, the students were asked to chew flavourless gum and were asked to identify the missing item in a sequence. Both experiments showed that chewing gum impaired recall of order and item identity, both of which are fundamental aspects of short-term memory. For the final experiment, the students were asked to tap their fingers and identify the missing item in a sequence. This experiment produced similar results to the second experiment, thus suggesting that finger tapping has a similar effect on short-term memory as chewing gum.
Michail D Kozlov, Robert W Hughes, Dylan M Jones. "Gummed-up memory: Chewing gum impairs short-term recall."The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2012;65:510-513.