Chewing gum can improve memory, say UK psychologists. They found that people who chewed throughout tests of both long-term and short-term memory produced significantly better scores than people who did not. But gum-chewing did not boost memory-linked reaction times, used as a measure of attention.

One third of the 75 adults tested chewed gum during the 20-minute battery of memory and attention tests. One third mimicked chewing movements, and the remainder did not chew.

The gum-chewers’ scores were 24 per cent higher than the controls’ on tests of immediate word recall, and 36 per cent higher on tests of delayed word recall. They were also more accurate on tests of spatial working memory.