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I've been interested in this general topic for more than 30 years. It seems to me that in humans, gum chewing is an arousing activity, and that one chew leads into more chewing, and enough of an arousal set of stimuli to keep the organism chewing, even when the gum has lost its flavor. Also, probably, keeps the organism awake and looking for more material to chew, or swallow. The activity of the jaws in sucking is very, very similar to that of chewing - open and close, open and close, and this leads to the baby staying awake long enough to finish his/her nutrition. If I were God (but our cat knows that I'm just the guy that gets the cat food), I would design into humans (and many other animals) a chewing response that would lead to arousal (wakefulness) and further chewing (or sucking). Many ruminants have to chew, chew, chew, chew to get any nutrition from their food -- e.g., grasses, leaves, etc. For them, chewing as an arousing response would appear to me to be a "big deal."Related to this, seems to me that other arousing responses in humans of a non-drug sort are: flaring the nostrils, opening the eyes wide (opening the palpebral fissure), assuming a straight-up or learning forward posture, etc.My two cents on this, but I would be surprised if I were wrong. (On the other hand, I've been surprised before.) And thanks for letting me vent on this interesting behavior!Yours,Caleb
hmmmm... something to ruminate on...
My best guess is that since it stimulates the mind, the brain will function better. Additionally, I see the act of chewing gum to possess a sort of meditative quality to it. More specifically, the repetitive motion might help facilitate concentration.