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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 654806, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/654806
Research Article

Chewing Gum: Cognitive Performance, Mood, Well-Being, and Associated Physiology

1Laboratory of Neurogastroenterology, Department of Psychiatry/Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, Biosciences Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
2Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, 63 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3AS, UK

Received 17 September 2014; Revised 26 January 2015; Accepted 29 January 2015

Academic Editor: Kin-ya Kubo

Copyright © 2015 Andrew P. Allen and Andrew P. Smith. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Recent evidence has indicated that chewing gum can enhance attention, as well as promoting well-being and work performance. Four studies (two experiments and two intervention studies) examined the robustness of and mechanisms for these effects. Study 1 investigated the acute effect of gum on mood in the absence of task performance. Study 2 examined the effect of rate and force of chewing on mood and attention performance. Study 3 assessed the effects of chewing gum during one working day on well-being and performance, as well as postwork mood and cognitive performance. In Study 4, performance and well-being were reported throughout the workday and at the end of the day, and heart rate and cortisol were measured. Under experimental conditions, gum was associated with higher alertness regardless of whether performance tasks were completed and altered sustained attention. Rate of chewing and subjective force of chewing did not alter mood but had some limited effects on attention. Chewing gum during the workday was associated with higher productivity and fewer cognitive problems, raised cortisol levels in the morning, and did not affect heart rate. The results emphasise that chewing gum can attenuate reductions in alertness, suggesting that chewing gum enhances worker performance.