Anatomy And Physiology

Yawn Contagion



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Why yawning is contagious


We have all witnessed and can testify that contagion happens when someone in a group, yawns even if it is a stifled yawn. Some theorists believe that this phenomena is more the result of a tendency for everyone in a group to get bored about the same time and that the first yawn is a primary action that triggers awareness of boredom. Others theorize that yawning may have been a signal between savages to take a certain action. Think of a tribal chief leading a hunt and has a group of warriors waiting in a shelter for passing deer. Well in due time, he yawns, which could be taken to mean we`ll go to the shelter by the creek. Nothing here. But signaled with a yawn to avoid talking causing scrambling a herd of deer nearby.


Let us look at some characteristics of yawning. Studies have shown that yawning is not caused by oxygen deprivation. Higher than average carbon dioxide in the blood do not cause yawning. Physical need of air is not the cause of yawning, according to most scientific studies. As an example of this we witness videos of babies in the womb, just 12 weeks after conception yawning, never stifled, in the warm gestation fluid. They are taking fluid into their lungs. The author thinks that this action is a throw-back action which may have come from the fact that all life began in the oceans of the world. In those times all oxygen for life came out of the sea water. Though no studies on this theory are known or known to be in process the idea seems a reasonable choice for study.


The use of the yawn to send a signal is not unknown in modern day practice. We have seen a weak little yawn, partially stifled with a roll-up in the eyes that tells the speaker that what he if talking about is known and obvious. The intimation may be that 1. we heard that before and number 2. that we don`t believe it or have our doubts. A number of yawns coming from an audience may be an indication to the speaker that he has said enough about the subject of his oration. A yawn pointed at the spouse can be read as "let`s go home"


Without doubt, critics who are opposed the views of a particular speaker, have used the yawn contagion principle to harass and demean an orator. Three or four with similar objective can trigger a mass yawning type orgy, if they are strategically placed in the audience and demonstrate the yawn openly. It can be more demeaning to the speaker that a booing episode. The reason for the contagion is still a mystery. Perhaps we may look forward to finding some explanation in the current studies of the brain now in progress.

Some scientist claim that they will be able to read the mind. Will the tendency to contagion due to yawning be resolved? Well, maybe.


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