Saturday, April 28, 2018

Yawn - No, it is not boring

That sounds a bit contradictory, right? Because, that involuntary reflex action, which is famously very contagious too, is often considered the signal of tiredness and boredom.

It is also widely referred to as the most popular mysterious action of the human body. The famous expert on yawning Robert R. Provine, a neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said, "Yawning may have the dubious distinction of being the least understood, common human behaviour."

In June 2010, there was an International Conference on Yawning in Paris. Many scientists there said yawning need not always be an indication of only boredom. Many researchers are now saying that we might yawn if are stressed or aroused, or it could even be an erotic signal.

One theory is that the temperature of the brain rises because of excitement or stress, and yawning is a natural body mechanism to cool the brain down. But so far there is no way to distinguish which yawn is for what. That could have been quite useful in many situations!

However, there is one takeaway at least. No need to necessarily get offended if someone you are talking to yawns. The signal could be quite contrary!

(This post is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2018.")

14 comments:

  1. I remember of my being whacked for yawning in the class at the school when I was too young to know that yawning signified boredome and a prelude to sleep. Interesting to know that there could be other reasons.

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    1. I am sure everyone would have gone through such a phase in school. Even if not whacked, at least they would have been reprimanded.
      Thanks, Parthasarathi, for the comment.

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  2. Yawning is also contagious.

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  3. When I yawn, it's because I'm tired. I had a professor in college who forbade us to yawn in class. As it was late afternoon, I was always tired. I learned to yawn with my mouth closed.

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    1. That's interesting. But still I guess it might just show up on the face, the stress of yawning.

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  4. I think yawning is a sign of boredom or fatigue but the other causes put forth,are also interesting.

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  5. I didn't know that yawning could cool the brain!

    www.volatilespirits.com

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    1. Thank you, Anupama, for dropping by and for your comment. I shall check out your blog.

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  6. I didn’t know about yawn being an arousal signal. However my husband told me that early humans used to pass signals to each other to stay alert through yawning. So when we yawn looking at each other, it is an evolutionary sign.

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    1. Yes, Shesha. That's one interpretation of yawn being a social communication tool.

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  7. International conference on yawning? Guess no-one would have yawned there :D

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    1. That's really a new angle, which I didn't think of at all, Jaish.

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