Gummed-up memory: Chewing gum impairs short-term recall. / Kozlov, Michail D; Hughes, Robert W; Jones, Dylan M.

In: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2012, p. 501-513.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Several studies have suggested that short-term memory is generally improved by chewing gum. However, we report the first studies to show that chewing gum impairs short-term memory for both item order and item identity. Experiment 1 showed that chewing gum reduces serial recall of letter lists. Experiment 2 indicated that chewing does not simply disrupt vocal-articulatory planning required for order retention: Chewing equally impairs a matched task that required retention of list item identity. Experiment 3 demonstrated that manual tapping produces a similar pattern of impairment to that of chewing gum. These results clearly qualify the assertion that chewing gum improves short-term memory. They also pose a problem for short-term memory theories asserting that forgetting is based on domain-specific interference given that chewing does not interfere with verbal memory any more than tapping. It is suggested that tapping and chewing reduce the general capacity to process sequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-513
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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