Can Chewing Gum Boost Exam Scores?

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- You might want to break out the chewing gum before your next big test, a new study contends.

The research, published in a recent issue of the journal Appetite, found that students who chewed gum for five minutes before taking a test got better marks than those who didn't chew gum.

This boost in academic performance was due to "mastication-induced arousal," which lasted for about the first 20 minutes of the test, according to Serge Onyper, an assistant professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

Previous research has shown that any type of physical activity improves brain performance, but this study shows that even minor physical activity can do so.

The benefits of chewing gum occurred only when it was done for five minutes before a test, not if it was done during the entire test. This may be because chewing and thinking conflict with each other, Onyper suggested in a university news release.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: St. Lawrence University, news release, Nov. 30, 2011