Comparing the effects of chewing gum before or during various testing situations, researchers found that performance on a battery of cognitive tasks improved for those who chewed gum for five minutes before a test, compared with those who didn’t
A report on the study said that scientists “believe the benefits of chewing gum were resulted from an effect called ‘mastication-induced arousal’ of the brain which acts similarly to a mild physical activity or exercise.”
OK, so much for 50 cent scientific terms (“mastication-induced arousal”).
I’m going to give a different point of view. If you’ve ever watched test takers at the beginning or during a test one thing you notice with great frequency is how many of them are holding their jaws very tight.
So the positive effect of chewing gum is to keep the jaw loose.
Interesting to note that the effects of this lasted for only 15 to 20 minutes after the start of the test, and that those who chewed gum during the test did more poorly.
Not surprising: students don’t need to know how to chew gum; they need to learn how to relax their muscles. While “mastication-induced arousal” may stimulate the brain, good old simple, regular breathing and relaxing muscular tension will go a long way to a helping any student be a calmer and better test-taker.