Dr Andy Johnson on The Today Programme
8 March 2013
Psychology lecturer Dr Andy Johnson spoke on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme about his research into chewing gum and concentration.
Andy was part of a team of researchers who found that chewing gum can help people focus better while doing tasks.
"In this study our participants undertook a very monotonous and repetitive constant vigilance task, where participants were presented with a sequence of digits and they were looking out for a particular signal," he told presenter James Naughtie.
He added that participants who chewed gum had less of a decrease in performance throughout the task, and reported being significantly more alert.
He said: "So what we suggest is that chewing gum can facilitate vigilance during a monotonous task but that this is only found when performance has dropped to sub-optimal level, so when it starts to fall down that's when gum has some scope for having a benefit.
"But if we are at our normal operating levels, we are sort of at ceiling effect, so there is nowhere for cognition to go. So only once our performance begins to drop does gum introduce a benefit in performance and vigilance."
Dr Johnson, who worked on the study with researchers from Cardiff University, explained that chewing increases blood flow to the brain and that increases delivery of glucose and oxygenated blood to the parts of the brain that are doing the task.
He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Solent's Breakfast Show, local station Wave 105 and BBC Radio Scotland about the research, which appears in the British Journal of Psychology.
You can listen to Dr Andy Johnson on the Today Programme here for the next seven days.
Return to News Menu page