What is Gaehnen doing
Why are we yawning and why is it contagious?
Yawning is considered impolite, largely because it has been associated with fatigue. We also yawn when we are exerted or stressed. So it can't just have to do with fatigue.
It begins with a deep breath, the mouth opens and a deep breath escapes. Sometimes a hearty yawn is also accompanied by tears. One yawns, everyone else yawns with you. Is that so and why are we yawning?
Psychopaths yawn less
The fact that yawning is contagious is due to mirror neurons in our brain. These ensure that we cry when someone cries, that we laugh when someone laughs and that we feel compassion. When we can empathize with other people, we tend to be more prone to being infected.
It has also been proven that people with low social skills yawn less. This is how the mirror neurons of psychopaths react, less sensitive to the people around them. This is mainly due to the lack of empathy. But be careful, that does not mean that someone who does not allow themselves to be infected by the yawning of others is automatically a psychopath.
Yawning because we are tired
The theory that yawning is only triggered by the onset of fatigue is now outdated. This is mainly due to the fact that we also have to yawn when we are under stress or when we concentrate heavily. But if it has nothing to do with fatigue, what is the reason for this reaction being triggered?
Yawning increases the uptake of oxygen
Sure, a deep breath supplies the body with more oxygen. However, lack of oxygen is not believed to be the main cause of this reaction. Rather, it is a positive side effect. We yawn more often when the outside temperature is 20 °. So intake of cool, fresh air could be a reason. Because it has been proven that the yawning frequency drops when it is very cold or warm. Why is the body interested in this air temperature?
Yawning cools the brain
Sounds strange, but that's how it should be. Breathing deeply brings a lot of fresh air into our airways. Researchers were able to show that when the brain temperature increased, there was more yawning. They concluded that yawning was used to cool the brain. This explanation fits with the assumption that yawning should keep us awake and focused. By cooling the brain, we are "fresh in the head" and stimulate our body to pay full attention. Similar to stretching the body, yawning is used for relaxation.
A final and general explanation for the phenomenon of yawning has not yet been found. Rather, the explanations are based on theories and small research series. One reason why yawning has not been well researched is probably its lack of relevance to medicine.
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