Are you a gum addict? Do you have multiple packets of gum strewn about your house, car, apartment, or in the pockets of various pairs of pants just in case you ever run out? Do your friends chastise you for constantly chewing? Well, my LSAT prep friends, don’t let their chides bother you. You’re actually doing yourself a favor by chewing gum! And them as well: you’re the one who always has fresh breath! A recent study conducted at Cardiff University found that you finish your tasks quicker and with better accuracy when you chew gum. Yes! At last! I am a fellow gum chewer. I’ve always needed gum to concentrate. And now there’s finally evidence that I’m not just some weird perseverating gum chewer, it actually does help!
The study was published in the British Journal of Psychology. It compounded on evidence from previous studies showing the benefits of chewing gum, such as increased blood flow to the frontal-temporal region of the brain. The study done at Cardiff focused specifically on short-term memory recall to see whether chewing gum would really improve concentration, especially later in the timeline of the task. The study consisted of researchers asking half of 38 participants to chew gum while listening to a random list of single-digit numbers. The scores showed the accuracy and quickness of each participant’s recall. The gum-chewing group was more successful on both counts.
Lead researcher, Kate Morgan, said, “Interestingly, participants who didn’t chew gum performed slightly better at the beginning of the task, but were overtaken by the end. This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time.” Bingo! The LSAT is three and a half grueling hours of logic. You sit continuously trying to recall logic techniques and formulas you have memorized for the past few months. The study shows that chewing gum could possibly help you not only in your concentration throughout the exam, but with actual recall of the formulas and methods!
This is great news for all of us gum chewers! For those of you with TMJ, my apologies, but things are not all lost. The study alluded to the fact that what was important was keeping your mouth busy, rather than chewing gum specifically. So, why not buy some hard candies and get your sugar fix while you study? You have an array of candy to choose from: lollipops, jolly ranchers, Werther’s caramels! Have at it!
Anyhoo, thought I’d give you guys the great news! Hope your studying has been going well and you haven’t gotten yourself too bogged down by your LSAT prep!