Chewing Gum Helps Students Concentrate

Do chewing gums help students focus? Studies reveal that chewing gum is capable of doing so.

But you will still have to wait to understand how that happens.

Kate Morgan and colleagues write in the British Journal of Psychology that chewing gum helps to concentrate on tasks that require continuous monitoring for longer than usual. And many other studies have shown that chewing gum helps in visual and audio memory. However, science has yet to identify how this happens.

One possible reason is the ‘passive learning’ it facilitates. It has been proved by a scientist named Georgi Lozanov that when students pay active attention to some interesting activities and give passive attention to lessons, they are able to better retain the contents of what they learn. His technique, popularly called Suggestopedia, uses music in different ways. One way is using introductory music to relax students to create an appropriate learning environment, and another is making students listen to baroque music and have their lessons read out for them softly against the baroque music, to which they pay no active attention. It was proved that students were able to retain far more information that it would be possible in a traditional classroom.

One probability is that music is replaced by chewing gum in the new claim but the mechanism remains the same. However, there are so many questions still remaining to be solved to understand how it happens. A science student might go so far as to explain that the activity of chewing keeps the brain neurons and their receptors active for longer than usual. If this is the case, the impact of chewing gum on the brain will decrease after some time, and studies have already indicated that this happens. In addition, there is the possibility that the action of chewing enhances blood flow to the brain for longer times, enabling better functioning. Another possibility is that the pleasurable activity of chewing the gum gives the brain the motivation to stay focused, and the study lessons manage to get into the brain along with the information it receives from chewing. Thus, you are tricking the brain into accepting more than it voluntarily would.

Though science has not yet understood how it happens, there is enough circumstantial evidence to show that chewing gum helps learning. But it seems that what it does is to entice the brain into remaining active for longer times and let other information get into the brain in the meantime. However, an interesting fact is that the regular use of chewing gum has some well-understood side effects. For example, using sugar-sweetened chewing gum results in tooth decay over time as there is a rise in the number of harmful bacteria. Moreover, it can harm your jaw and cause a rare disease called temporomandibular disorder (TMD) along with other issues like a headache.

The summary is that excessive use of chewing gum for the purpose of study is not a wise idea because there are both positive and negative effects reported and much still remains to be explored.