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Author Topic: Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?  (Read 6756 times)

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« on: 27/03/2008 23:00:08 »
 ???


 

Offline JnA

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #1 on: 28/03/2008 06:18:00 »
sympathy?

I think to answer this question properly we need to figure out why people yawn. AFAIK this is still a matter of debate.
 

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #2 on: 28/03/2008 10:48:19 »
Is it because of the environment we are in? Like if the environment lacks oxygen or something..
 

Offline neilep

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #3 on: 28/03/2008 11:57:18 »
???

Dear Mr Seany...


A similar question was asked a while ago ...here it is you young whippersnapper ewe !!

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=645.0



« Last Edit: 28/03/2008 13:13:37 by neilep »
 

Offline JnA

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #4 on: 28/03/2008 12:36:47 »
That is one theory. That it is an involuntary survival reflex regulating the carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

I have also read, using that theory, that why others counter yawn is the result of a survival tactic of competing for air... (but that's always sounded a bit far fetched to me) Also that it could be a vestigial response of a past where yawning was used to co ordinate social behaviour.


The thinking that a yawn is triggered from boredom or fatigue may be because it is then when our breathing tends to be shallowest so O2 levels can get low. But we don't know why babies in the womb yawn (since they don't take in oxygen) and we don't know why people with certain ailments (like MS or brain stem injuries) yawn excessively.

Another theory is that a yawn is like stretch which increase blood pressure and flexes joints and muscles.

yet another theory is that it is to cool the brain. An experiment was done where they put warm, room temp and cold towels on subjects head and found that people yawned more with the warm and room temp towels. People who breathed through their noses yawned less .
 


in short.. we really don't know.. but don't try to stifle them, it is much more satisfying to complete a yawn than to try to stop it.
 

Offline JnA

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #5 on: 28/03/2008 12:40:58 »
ah, well that's what I get for using the forum as a distraction from my work.. it takes me too long to write and I get pipped at the post.
 

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #6 on: 28/03/2008 12:42:44 »
???

Dear Mr Seany...


A similar question was asked a while ago ...here is is you young whippersnapper ewe !!

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=645.0

Thank you Neil! ;D
 

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #7 on: 28/03/2008 12:44:40 »
That is one theory. That it is an involuntary survival reflex regulating the carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

I have also read, using that theory, that why others counter yawn is the result of a survival tactic of competing for air... (but that's always sounded a bit far fetched to me) Also that it could be a vestigial response of a past where yawning was used to co ordinate social behaviour.

Does this mean that if we were trapped in a room with a limited amount of oxygen, and the supply was going down and you were trapped with 2 other people.. Would you keep on yawning?
 

Offline JnA

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #8 on: 28/03/2008 12:47:27 »
That is one theory. That it is an involuntary survival reflex regulating the carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

I have also read, using that theory, that why others counter yawn is the result of a survival tactic of competing for air... (but that's always sounded a bit far fetched to me) Also that it could be a vestigial response of a past where yawning was used to co ordinate social behaviour.

Does this mean that if we were trapped in a room with a limited amount of oxygen, and the supply was going down and you were trapped with 2 other people.. Would you keep on yawning?

interesting point.. I don't know.. I guess no-one has thought to ask a trapped survivor that.. I wonder.
 

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #9 on: 28/03/2008 12:49:37 »
Theoretically, we should keep yawning as a battle for air... right?
 

Offline JnA

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #10 on: 28/03/2008 13:10:30 »
according to that particular theory I guess so.. weather it happens or not is another question.
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #11 on: 28/03/2008 13:59:33 »
I heard once that when we yawn it's because we are Exhaling "bad
air" but I think it's more to do with exhaustion, tiredness or
illness.
 

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #12 on: 28/03/2008 14:00:42 »
That's a cool theory.. So like polluted air?
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #13 on: 28/03/2008 16:56:15 »
That's a cool theory.. So like polluted air?

Seany I suppose so but I had not really thought of yawning quite that way. Good point there.
 

Offline Onanist

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #14 on: 28/03/2008 17:17:19 »
i really dont think it has anything to do with lack of oxygen.

one thing i have noticed: i find myself yawning as a reaction to feeling threatened, particularly by other men.

if i am walking past a large group of strangers on the street for instance, i will often yawn.

it is entirely involuntary, and i only ever notice it afterwards.

i have always assumed it is some kind of alpha male dominance thing, like folding the arms, and puffing out the chest.

anybody else do this?
 

Offline Bass

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #15 on: 28/03/2008 17:19:49 »
Amazing, I started yawning as soon as I started reading this thread!
 

Offline Karen W.

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #16 on: 28/03/2008 17:41:56 »
Me too.. but I really think when the body slows down that breathing slows and deeper breaths are used in the creation of oxygen to flood the lungs and provide deep breathing which we really lack sometimes. and it really should be beneficial to clearing out stagnate air which remains trapped due to the fact that most of us do not breath properly and their have been links to weight gain due to improper breathing. Your body needs full breaths of air to function at its optimum.. so those breaths can really aid in delivery of some oxygen.. perhaps an effort to revive us or help us feel better.
 

Offline ukmicky

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #17 on: 28/03/2008 18:34:03 »
It probably all dates back many thousands of years when we used to live out in the wild in groups hunting wild animals for a living at which time as soon as it got dark we all slept and all woke up at first light and is a natural behaviour/responce that is passed down in our genes and was originally learnt as our bodies associated the yawn with it being time to sleep.

My theory as to why we yawn with out any help from others is as it gets dark and bedtime approaches our bodies slow down the production of certain chemicals and boost producing of others to get us ready for sleep. Maybe due to the extra production of melatonin etc our bodies then start to wind down which then maybe reduces our bodies ability to remove carbon dioxide.
But as we tend to not to go to sleep these days when the sun goes down our bodies need to respond to the fact that the extra activity of being awake is causing an excess of carbon dioxide tobe  produced in our bodies which it cant now naturally get rid of through normal means and as we also shallow breath when we are relaxing and tired allowing lot of carbon dixode to remain in our lungs & windpipe between breaths our brain then responds by making us take a deep breath clearing it all out.
« Last Edit: 28/03/2008 21:47:43 by ukmicky »
 

Offline ukmicky

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #18 on: 28/03/2008 18:35:34 »
OOPPS
I just read yours Karen which is a bit like mine.:)
 

Offline Seany

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #19 on: 29/03/2008 12:21:09 »
i really dont think it has anything to do with lack of oxygen.

one thing i have noticed: i find myself yawning as a reaction to feeling threatened, particularly by other men.

if i am walking past a large group of strangers on the street for instance, i will often yawn.

it is entirely involuntary, and i only ever notice it afterwards.

i have always assumed it is some kind of alpha male dominance thing, like folding the arms, and puffing out the chest.

anybody else do this?

Like a lion roaring?? I haven't yawned when threatened =/
 

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Why do we YAWN when others YAWN?
« Reply #19 on: 29/03/2008 12:21:09 »

 

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