6 February 2013
Are you a fan of chewing gum?
If you are, a study has shown that you could be doing your brain some good, with chewers having 10% faster reaction times in tests set by researchers.
The research was published in the journal Brain and Cognition and reveals that up to 8 areas of the brain are affected by chewing.
One theory about increased performance is that chewing increases arousal and leads to temporary improvement in blood flow to thebrain.
The study involved some participant’s chewing gum and some not, during which time they were asked to press a button with their right or left thumb based on direction from a screen.
The volunteer’s brains were scanned to highlight the active areas.
The results showed that those not chewing gum took 545 milliseconds to react compared to 493 milliseconds for those who were chewing.
Professor Andy Smith of Cardiff University, said, “The effects of chewing on reaction time are profound. Our results suggest that chewing induced an increase in the arousal level and alertness in addition to an effect on motor control and, as a consequence, these effects could lead to improvements in cognitive performance.”
However, other research has shown that chewing gum can interfere with short term memory.