Relationships Between Gum Chewing and Stroop Test: A Pilot Study

  • Y. KawakamiEmail author
  • T. Takeda
  • M. Konno
  • Y. Suzuki
  • Y. Kawano
  • T. Ozawa
  • Y. Kondo
  • K. Sakatani
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 977)


Cognitive function tends to decrease with aging, therefore maintenance of this function in an aging society is an important issue. The role of chewing in nutrition is important. Although several studies indicate that gum chewing is thought to improve cognitive function, it remains debatable whether gum-chewing does in fact improve cognitive function. The Stroop test is a psychological tool used to measure cognition. A shorter reaction time indicates a mean higher behavioral performance and higher levels of oxy-Hb concentration. fNIRS is a powerful, non-invasive imaging technique offering many advantages, including compact size, no need for specially equipped facilities, and the potential for real-time measurement. The left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) seems to be mainly involved in the Stroop task.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the hypothesis that gum-chewing changes cerebral blood flow in the left DLPFC during the Stroop test, and also changes the reaction time. Fourteen healthy volunteers (mean age 26.9 years) participated in this study after providing written informed consent. A piece of tasteless gum weighing 1.0 g was used. Each session was designed in a block manner, i.e. 4 rests (30 s) and 3 blocks of task (30 s). A computerized Stroop test was used (including both congruent and incongruent Stroop tasks) which calculates a response time automatically. The Binominal test was used for comparisons (p < 0.05). The results show activation of the left DLPFC during the Stroop task and that gum chewing significantly increases responses/oxy-Hb concentration and significantly shortens the reaction time.


Stroop test Gum- chewing Near-infrared spectroscopy The left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex Cognitive function 



This research was partly supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, under the Strategic Promotion of Innovative Research and Development Program, and a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology of Japan (23300247, 25463025, and 25463024).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Kawakami
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. Takeda
    • 1
  • M. Konno
    • 1
  • Y. Suzuki
    • 1
  • Y. Kawano
    • 1
  • T. Ozawa
    • 1
  • Y. Kondo
    • 2
  • K. Sakatani
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sports DentistryTokyo Dental CollegeChibaJapan
  2. 2.Department of General DentistryTokyo Dental College Chiba HospitalChibaJapan
  3. 3.NEWCAT Research, Institute, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, College of EngineeringNihon UniversityChiyodaJapan

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