The finding that chewing gum can moderate stress and mood changes following a multi-task cognitive stressor (Scholey et al., 2009) was re-examined. In a repeated measures cross-over design, thirty participants completed a 20-min multi-tasking stressor on consecutive days, both with and without chewing gum. Both prior to and post stressor, participants provided salivary cortisol samples and self-rated measures of stress, state anxiety, calmness, contentedness, and alertness. Contrary to Scholey et al. (2009), chewing gum failed to attenuate both salivary cortisol levels and the increase in self-rated stress. Self-rated anxiety, calmness, and contentedness were not impacted by chewing gum. This suggests that the stress effects reported by Scholey et al. may be constrained by particular features of that study (e.g. morning testing). However, consistent with Scholey et al. (2009), chewing gum was shown to increase alertness following the stressor. The mechanisms underpinning heightened alertness are unclear; however, such increases may be linked to greater cerebral activity following the chewing of gum (Fang et al., 2005 M. Fang, J.C. Li, G. Lu, X.Y. Gong and D.T. Yew, A fMRI study of age-related differential cortical patterns during cued motor movements. Brain Topography, 17 3 (2005), pp. 127–137. Fang Li, Lu, Gong, & Yew, 2005).
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- chewing gum
- multi-tasking stress