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What is the purpose of yawning ?

Posted on Wednesday, 21 September, 2011 | Comment icon 20 comments | News tip by: Karlis


Image credit: sxc.hu

 
A new study has suggested that yawning may be a mechanism the body uses to help cool the brain.

Most people associate yawning with either tiredness or boredom, however it seems it may play a very different but crucial role in the regulation of heat in the brain. Postdoctoral research associate Andrew Gallup also discovered that we tend to yawn at a different rate based on the current temperature and climate.

"Gallup and Eldakar documented the yawning frequency of 160 people in the winter and summer in Tucson, Ariz."

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 Source: Bio Science Technology


  Discuss: View comments (20)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by The Black Ghost on 21 September, 2011, 18:52
I yawn when I'm not getting enough oxygen from my normal breathing, usually after I wake up or before. When you go to sleep or get tired and drowsy, your breathing rate decrease and your blood circulates slower, therefore the need for oxygen decreases. However, I think when you wake up and for a while afterwards you might be in a transition stage where you're breathing rate (controlled by brain stem) is just a bit less than the amount of oxygen you need for your blood.... A little convoluted but it certainly makes sense for my case.
Comment icon #12 Posted by AnVil on 21 September, 2011, 20:16
I always thought it was related to oxygen levels too. I certainly notice when i can't stop yawning that i will open the window as it tends to feel stuffy and then it stops. So i suppose it could be inner brain temperature too which alludes to the stuffy feeling.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Spectre1979 on 21 September, 2011, 22:05
As soon as I saw the title to this story I yawned and have done three times now. LOL
Comment icon #14 Posted by reggie2011 on 22 September, 2011, 4:12
i recon its just relesing pressuire in ur sinus cavitys also its another thing people do when there feeling anxity and shyness people let out that fake yawn as if to say "im not worried (but im really feeling stressed out and please stop looking at me!)
Comment icon #15 Posted by Jerry Only on 22 September, 2011, 5:53
As soon as I saw the title to this story I yawned and have done three times now. LOL I just did too.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Persia on 23 September, 2011, 16:04
The theory puts forth that yawning might be a basic way to cool an overheated brain, especially when the surrounding air temperature is cooler than a person's body temperature. http://news.discovery.com/human/yawning-may-cool-the-brain-110923.html
Comment icon #17 Posted by Atlantia on 14 October, 2011, 6:56
So why is Yawning contagious? Even with animals and species that are quite 'distant' on the evolutionary tree from us? I used to have a pet seagull and If I yawned, he'd yawn! Who hasn't seen the same with a pet dog either?
Comment icon #18 Posted by Jerry Only on 14 October, 2011, 7:43
Who hasn't seen the same with a pet dog either? Yeah, I read also that yawning in front of a dog shows them that you are comfortable and everything is okay, since they communicate that same way. I used to fake yawn at a dog grooming place I worked at if the dog was sketchy. I like to think it helped, but who knows.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Spectre1979 on 14 October, 2011, 7:50
Yeah, I read also that yawning in front of a dog shows them that you are comfortable and everything is okay, since they communicate that same way. I used to fake yawn at a dog grooming place I worked at if the dog was sketchy. I like to think it helped, but who knows. Well you're still here so it seems to have worked.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Anequetuapa on 14 October, 2011, 9:15
Which leads to the question that when many people see someone "regulate their brain temperature" they contagiously react and do the same thing; why? In a nutshell " Monkey See, Monkey Do! " lmao


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