Effects of Gum Chewing on Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, and Short-Term Recall
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Finding novel solutions to increase memory and retention abilities can provide strategies for improved performance in testing situations. Chewing gum has been proposed as a means to increase memory retention abilities and attention to a task. This study tested the effects of chewing sugar-free mint gum on short term recall ability, as well as the physiological basis of effects seen (measured by recording heart rate and respiration rate of subjects). Respiration rate and heart rate were recorded using the Biopac lab system and a heart rate monitor, respectively. While these two parameters were recorded, participants underwent several rounds of a short term recall computer testing in which they were instructed to recall words out loud they had previously been shown for ten seconds. The control group (n=15) performed the test with no intervention. The experimental group (n=15) performed the test while chewing sugar-free mint gum. Participants were age and gender matched between groups. There was no significant difference between groups for either word recall (p= 0.197525) or respiration rate (p= 0.268064). There was a significant increase in heart rate for those chewing gum when compared to those not chewing gum during the short term recall test (p= 0.009155). The large increase in heart rate in the gum chewing condition could be explained by the fact that chewing constitutes heightened physical activity. However, this does not explain the non-significant decreases in short term recall and breathing rate of participants chewing gum. This suggests that strategies other than gum chewing are needed to improve short term recall in testing situations. Further experimentation is needed to determine the full effects of chewing gum on these physiological processes.
Short Term Recall
An article that appeared in JASS, issue 2018