A Neuroscientist Explains Why Yawning Is Contagious - Mon Wellness
A Neuroscientist Explains Why Yawning Is Contagious

A Neuroscientist Explains Why Yawning Is Contagious

WI have a phrase in this story and I have already yawned three times. If that doesn’t say something about the mysterious, infectious nature of yawning, I do not know what it says. So I asked neuroscientist Hayley Nelson, PhD, founder of The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, why yawning is contagious.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), yawning is defined as “the involuntary opening of the mouth and the taking of a large, deep breath of air.” This happens more often when you feel drowsy, have a vascular reaction (or pneumogastric nerve stimulation) or have a brain problem (such as a stroke). “Yawning can also act as a reflex to balance the air pressure in your ears. Thus, there is a belief that the act of yawning can actually be a form of homeostasis or a way of maintaining a stable internal physiological environment to enhance of an individual’s environment, “says Dr. Nelson.

Why is yawning contagious? Some theories:

While scientists have speculations about why yawning in front of your friend is guaranteed to yawn as well, it is important to note that none of their ideas are yet solid. “While there is still a lot to understand about the physiology of yawning, research supports several theories as to why we do it,” says Dr. Nelson. Below, it guides you through some theories.

Yawning is a form of communication with high-class animals

Some researchers believe that yawning or waving your head – yawning is just another form of texting your fellow human beings. “There are theories that suggest that yawning is a form of communication between higher animals to support enhanced cognitive performance and group coordination by increasing oxygenated blood in the brain,” says Dr. Nelson. “This yawning transmission also tends to be even more ‘contagious’ with loved ones compared to strangers,” says Dr. Nelson.

For this reason, scientists believe that yawning may have evolved to help animals, including humans, bond with each other and make group decisions. “Functional brain scans of yawning individuals have shown increased activation in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in a variety of functions, most notably decision-making,” says Dr. Nelson.

2. Yawning is what is called a steady-state pattern (FAP)

FAPs are predictable actions or sequences that are triggered by some kind of hint. For example, mother birds that nest in the ground have a specific, repetitive choreography that follows if one of their eggs rolls out of the nest. Instead of every mom having her own opinion about returning the egg to safety, she is likely to do so exact sequence. Yawning is similar.

“FAPs are commonly found in lower animals, but humans have some examples of FAP behaviors — yawning is one of them,” says Dr. Nelson. “Moreover, with FAP, once they start, they are essentially unchanged and must be completed. Have you ever tried to stop a yawn in the middle ?? Yes, it can not be done! So, basically, as soon as a person starts yawning, this hard-wired behavior behavior must continue its course ”.

3. Conductive yawning is the result of mirror neurons

In the social mirror, human beings (and other high-class animals) mimic the energies of those around them. For example, if I cross my arms, you can do the same. “What these neurons are involved fits in with how we feel and feel the way we move,” James Giordano, PhD, a neuroethicist and neuroscientist at Georgetown University, told PBS. “So if someone sees me scratching my face, they will know how it is. You may have to do the same.”

Researchers believe that human beings do this because their brains classify this energy – whether it is yawning, folded arms or scratching your head – as a useful action.

One last note on yawning

While yawning is almost always harmless, talk to your doctor if you feel that you are yawning more than usual. “It is common and usually completely benign. However, if there is an increase in yawning that can not be explained by lack of sleep or some of the other causes mentioned above, then yawning may be a symptom of a disease,” says Medical University. of South Carolina.

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