Chewing Gum During Tests

 

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You can always hear someone asking if anyone has gum or if they can have a piece, but gum can improve much more than just your breath. An article from NBC News written by Serge Onyper http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/education-nation/commentary-chewing-gum-may-improve-test-scores-n21731 cites a study from St. Lawerence University states that people that chewed gum for five minutes before some cognitive tests did much better than those that did not. The study alludes to the fact that chewing gum can help improve someone’s working memory by elevating your blood pressure and essentially “waking you up”, this also goes hand in hand with the “Mozart Effect” that someone could be aroused by listening to and enjoying music. However, if someone chews gum throughout the test then the benefits of memory are almost non existent because chewing gum for extending periods of time takes away from some brain power that is necessary for maintaining performance on particularly demanding tasks.

I thought this study was interesting because I have heard about a lot of tricks that are said to help improve your memory for tests such as writing in blue ink or taking the exam in the same place that you studied. This one seemed to be more concrete because it says that chewing gum can help, but that it only last for about 15 to 20 minutes and that you should stop chewing the gum before the test, and they had data to back up their study. This study could lead to different ways that students take exams or even study.

The idea that chewing gum can help improve mental cognition is interesting in itself because in an article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/30/memory-hacks_n_3949644.html) written by Carolyn Gregoire on the Huffington Post states that playing games like crossword puzzles or doing Sudoku could help improve someone’s memory by 97 percent by doing it for ten hours; however, you only have to chew gum for about five minutes for it to help your working memory. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku could be used to help improve a person’s overall cognition whereas chewing gum could be used to help remember things for a test last minute that they are cramming for.

This gum chewing study could lead to other possible studies that would further people’s cognitive abilities. Gum could potentially be used as a key to help students on tests or maybe even help someone remember daily things such as where they put their keys. There have been numerous cognitive studies to see what improves thinking. I have always suffered from forgetting where I put my things and not being able to memorize facts for tests well, so the concept that there are tests being performed to help with memory cognition provides a sense of hope that I, and people that also suffer from memory problems, will not have to wander through life forgetting where they parked their car or left their notebook for class.