Chewing gum and impasse-induced self-reported stress
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Authors: Torney, L.K., Johnson, A.J. and Miles, C.
An insoluble anagram task (Zellner et al., 2006) was used to investigate the proposition that chewing gum reduces self-rated stress (Scholey et al., 2009). Using a between-participants design, forty participants performed an insoluble anagram task followed by a soluble anagram task. These tasks were performed with or without chewing gum. Self-rated measures were taken at baseline, post-stressor, and post-recovery task. The insoluble anagram task was found to amplify stress in terms of increases in self-rated stress and reductions in both self-rated calmness and contentedness. However, chewing gum was found not to mediate the level of stress experienced. Furthermore, chewing gum did not result in superior performance on the soluble anagram task. The present study fails to generalise the findings of Scholey et al. to an impasse induced stress that has social components. The explanation for the discrepancy with Scholey et al. is unclear; however, it is suggested that the impossibility of the insoluble anagram task may negate any secondary stress reducing benefits arising from chewing gum-induced task improvement.