Chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks that require continuous monitoring.
This is the finding of new research by Kate Morgan and colleagues from Cardiff University published in the British Journal of Psychology.
Previous research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks. This study focussed on the potential benefits of chewing gum during an audio memory task.
Kate Morgan, author of the study explained: “It’s been well established by previous research that chewing gum can benefit some areas of cognition. In our study we focussed on an audio task that involved short-term memory recall to see if chewing gum would improve concentration; especially in the latter stages of the task.”
The study involved 38 participants being split in to two groups. Both groups completed a 30 minute audio task that involved listening to a list of numbers from 1-9 being read out in a random manner. Participants were scored on how accurately and quickly they were able to detect a sequence of odd-even-odd numbers, such as 7-2-1. Participants also completed questionnaires on their mood both before and after the task.
The results showed that participants who chewed gum had quicker reaction times and more accurate results than the participants who didn’t chew gum. This was especially the case towards the latter parts of the task.
Kate explained: “Interestingly participants who didn’t chew gum performed slightly better at the beginning of the task but were overtaken by the end. This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time.”
The study was discussed in Radio Four Today programme.
We asked Garodnick if any of these angry drivers felt the city was intentionally trying to trick them, to which he replied: “Yes yes yes yes yes! That was part of the sadness of all of it – that people actually think that the city is deliberately trying to confuse them in order to give tickets. And that perception alone is a problem.” (via Anatomy of a Parking Sign That Actually Makes Sense - Emily Badger - The Atlantic Cities)
It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.
You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.
But in real life, you can’t avoid doing things. We have to earn a living, do our taxes, have difficult conversations sometimes. Human life requires confronting uncertainty and risk, so pressure mounts. Procrastination gives a person a temporary hit of relief from this pressure of “having to do” things, which is a self-rewarding behavior. So it continues and becomes the normal way to respond to these pressures.
Particularly prone to serious procrastination problems are children who grew up with unusually high expectations placed on them. Their older siblings may have been high achievers, leaving big shoes to fill, or their parents may have had neurotic and inhuman expectations of their own, or else they exhibited exceptional talents early on, and thereafter “average” performances were met with concern and suspicion from parents and teachers.
This totally justifies every excuse I’ve been giving myself from not doing that thing I’m supposed to do.
I love this. Do you think he called up the Costco CEO after that NYT article went viral and said, hey, I’m coming over for some pies? Because I’d want to ride that kind of good PR too.
This is good business. Happy employees mean happy and well served customers.
Costco is my favorite place!