Dec 29, 2011

Yawning

File:Ducreuxyawn.jpg

People usually yawn when we're tired, bored, or stressed. But no one's sure exactly why we yawn. It's been proposed that yawning regulates oxygen flow or controls body temperature. Maybe yawning was a territorial reflex ("Look at my big teeth and how few shits I give about you!") or a herd instinct ("Guys I'm tired, let's all go to bed.") We really don't know.

We do know that yawns are 'contagious' among humans. You have all watched people around you follow your lead when you yawn, or have struggled to contain a yawn of your own after seeing someone else's. Even dogs yawn in response to seeing humans yawn. We're not sure why yawning is contagious either, but it may be an empathetic reaction to the displayed feelings of other people. People are more likely to mimic the yawns of people related to them and ignore the yawns of strangers (check it), so it looks like social solidarity has a lot to do with it.

Just reading about yawning can trigger yawns. I must have yawned twenty times while writing this post. Did you yawn while reading it?

17 comments:

  1. guilty. halfway through your text I was yawning lol

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  2. I swear I yawned just by reading the title and the picture!!!

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  3. Damn the just saw the pic and yawned.

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  4. Some time ago I read that yawning makes the body actually more awake.. kinda interesting fact, isn't it ^^

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  5. I yawned, and it felt good. It's strange though, it could be an evolutionary leftover, kind of like laughing.

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  6. yawned once while reading inadvertantly and once to see if I bear my teeth when I do. I don't! My lip curls over them as I yawn!

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  7. I yawned once after commenting while reading Baseds comment!

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  8. i yawned multiple times. i fail. :C

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  9. I freaking yawned. Voodoo magic!!!

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  10. Haha, got you all. =P

    @Skag, laughing is interesting, too! I imagine that explaining laughter (what it is, why we do it) to an alien species would be... well, hilarious.

    @Bersercules, it's a good thing we've evolved things like Keep Out signs and shotguns, or your territory would be mine! My yawn is more fearsome that your yawn, lmao.

    @Evan, not magic, SCIENCE!

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  11. Tried to fight it but yawned while reading the comments

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Discuss!