by Abbey Bohannon & Skylar Troutt; Farnsley Middle School (Louisville, KY)
“Spit out the gum!” is what teachers are constantly telling us during school.
Teenagers love chewing gum because of the great taste and it freshens breath. What teachers don’t know about chewing gum is that it can have other advantages. Several recent studies have shown that chewing gum before a test can actually increase your test scores. So, while you’re sitting, waiting to take a test chewing gum could possibly increase your test scores.
Craig A. Johnston, Ph.D., from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, led a research study publish in April, 2014, that indicates that there is a positive relationship between chewing gum and academic performance.
The researchers followed two different groups of eighth grade math students. One group chewed gum during a period of 14 weeks and one didn’t. Their study showed that students who chewed gum had final grades and test scores that were significantly better than the students who did not chew the gum. This study was sponsored by The Wrigley Gum Company. The Wrigley Science Institute works with researchers at leading institutions to learn more about the health and wellness benefits of chewing gum.
Another study from Dr. Chris Miles of the Cardiff School of Psychology in the United Kingdom, that was conducted studies in 2013 noticed multiple improvements that were not just in memory and alertness. He also found improvements in intelligence and mood. Participants were scored on how accurately and quickly they were able to detect a sequence of odd-even-odd numbers, such as 7-2-1. They also completed questionnaires on their mood both before and after the task. The results showed that participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than the participants who didn’t chew gum.
Study researcher Serge Onyper, of St. Lawrence University, in Canton, NY, also did a study in November 2013 on the gum chewing theory. The researchers tested 224 undergraduates from St. Lawrence University. They then divided them into three groups. One chewed gum before and during the test, another chewed gum for five minutes before being tested and a third didn’t chew anything. The researchers then gave them tests’ to see which group scored the highest. They found that gum-chewing before testing improved student’s performance on several of the tests, but only for a short period. The test takers who chewed gum the entire time or didn’t chew gum at all didn’t show as much improvement.
The Health Science Center at the University of Florida scientists have not found out a reason for this extra brain power. However, they do have a theory at the moment. The theory they have at the moment is that the chewing motion leads to an increase of the alertness of your brain. This helps your brain remember more of the previous things you have learned. The advantages you get from chewing the gum only lasts for a limited amount of time after you chew it.
They did a couple of studies to see if their theories were true by testing two different groups. They gave one group gum and the other didn’t have anything. The kids with gum did show better scores, but it also had a downside. Their studies showed that the kids who chewed the gum only benefited from it for the first 20–30 minutes of the test.
We took a survey of 120 kids in our school and asked them if they wanted to chew gum in school and if they thought that chewing gum could help them in school. All of the students who took the survey want to chew gum in school. 95% (115 out of the 120) believe it could improve their test scores.
Abbey Bohannon & Skylar Troutt
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