Over the past decade, studies have been conducted to determine the effects of chewing gum in schools. The Effects of Gum Chewing on Math Scores in Adolescents project analyzed math grades and test scores of 111 high school students, with 53 students chewing gum and 58 who did not. The study was led by Craig Johnston from the Baylor College of Medicine and sponsored by the Wm Wrigley Jr Company, a chewing gum manufacturer. In a press release, Wrigley claimed that students who chewed gum had increased standardised math test scores and better final grades.
However, the study was met with limitations, and the differences in grades and test scores were statistically small. The ClinicalTrials.gov website records showed technical measurement problems and early termination leading to the unreliable or uninterpretable data.
In addition, other studies looked at the effects of gum chewing on concentration and memory. A group of German researchers from the University of Oldenburg examined the impact of Wrigley’s sugar-free gum on concentration in eight and nine-year-old primary school students. The study concluded that chewing gum had a positive effect on concentration performance.
While there is debate on whether gum chewing improves memory, a study by Kate Morgan and Christopher Miles from Cardiff University and Andrew Johnson of Bournemouth University suggested that chewing gum mitigated the vigilance decrement. This study contradicted another study by researchers from Cardiff University called Gummed-up Memory: Chewing Gum Impairs Short-term Recall.
Research on the effects of chewing gum on the mind dates back to the 1930s when Harry Hollingworth from Columbia University conducted a series of experiments sponsored by Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation. Hollingworth found that chewing gum had little practical effect on handwriting pressure, typing accuracy, work efficiency, and pulse rate. He also included mints in his experiments to rule out the possible influence of taste, satisfaction, interest, and mild excitement incident to the use of flavoured masticatory.