Gum doesn’t make you smarter

By the way — gum doesn’t make you smarter!

Some early research found that gum chewing improved performance on memory tests, perhaps by boosting blood flow to the brain and stimulating a part of the brain where information is processed. But more recent studies have failed to find any brain benefit — or have noted that gum sometimes worsens performance.

Another recent study in Appetite found that gum improved performance on certain cognitive tests, but only when it was chewed before, not during, the tests. The benefit lasted just 15 to 20 minutes. According to the researchers, gum doesn’t help thinking — and possibly even impairs it — during a task because of “interference due to a sharing of metabolic resources by cognitive and masticatory processes.” In other words, some people can’t think (or walk) and chew gum at the same time.

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