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Author Topic: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?  (Read 27253 times)

Offline neilep

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We all hate itches yes ?..but all love scratching them !!..but can someone tell me exactly what an itch is and how that when you scratch one the pleasure of scratching it moves outside the boundary of where the original itch was.

I realise it's probably an irritant of something but on really close inspection of pre-scratched itches...I can't see anything !!

And...why are yawns so contagious....even ones over the phone ?

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #1 on: 10/02/2004 08:59:26 »
An itch is something to do with nerves, they want to be displaced or something. That's what my dad told me anyway when I was little, lol. I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was something along those lines. My own theory of why yawns are contagious, is that you see someone else yawn, your brain figures there mustn't be enough air in the place or something (since people yawn when their brain decides there's not enough oxygen ... when you're sleepy, you tend to breathe shallowly without realising it. If your brain really doesn't have enough oxygen and it's more urgent, you faint) so anyway, your brain decides there mustn't be enough air or oxygen in the place if someone's yawning so it makes you yawn too. I don't know if that's right though.

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Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #2 on: 10/02/2004 13:17:45 »
Thanks Erin....I presume the same is when you hear someone yawn on the phone too. Is a 'stretch' then just a more elaborate yawn ?...Thank you for your comments to all my silly queries :)

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Offline Ylide

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #3 on: 10/02/2004 23:54:29 »
Biologically, yawning equalizes the pressure inside your head to that of the air.  My stupid theory is that they're contagious because when you yawn, you create a very slight pressure gradient in the air around you, causing everyone within that gradient to yawn until equilibrium is reached.  

It's complete fallacy of course, but I think it's funny.



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Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #4 on: 11/02/2004 00:06:04 »
Thanks Jay...it's a great theory......I suppose theoretically the change in pressure gradient around you (during the act of yawning) could stretch how far ? infinity ?....if it's very local ie: a few metres,  then we need to elaborate on your theory to encompass distant yawning.... :-)

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Offline Donnah

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #5 on: 11/02/2004 05:41:13 »
How about remote yawning?;)
« Last Edit: 11/02/2004 15:08:26 by Donnah »
 

Offline Quantumcat

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #6 on: 11/02/2004 07:50:23 »
lol cannabinoid that's interesting. Why does the pressure gradient become lower in the first placeľ?

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Offline Ylide

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #7 on: 11/02/2004 08:14:18 »
Improper breathing, being tired, or congested will mess with the pressure behind the ear canal.  That's what triggers it.  The yawn then perpetuates by changing the pressure around you as you lower/raise the pressure inside your head.

It theoretically goes to infinity, but like gravity or electrical fields, it drops off as the invsere square of distance, so the effect is negligible after a certain distance.

I've put a lot of thought into this, can you tell?

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Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #8 on: 11/02/2004 20:21:58 »
Jay, getting to grips with your theory and understanding my 'clapping' question ....phew !!!..I may actually sleep tonight !!! *grin*

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Offline MissMontana

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #9 on: 11/02/2004 21:47:11 »
I have no idea why yawns are contagious but I have just yawned reading about it (not through boredom) so it must be some kind of subconscious suggestion.  Never experienced contagious cyber yawns before
 

Offline Quantumcat

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #10 on: 12/02/2004 14:14:25 »
Okay, I suppose I was sort of right with the improper breathing but wrong with oxygen in the head. Thanks for clearing it up cannabinoid.

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Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #11 on: 11/03/2004 20:44:48 »
Sorry people to bring up this topic again....but I just had an itch and now I want to know why does it feel sooooooooooo good to scratch em ?!!!!, what is happenning to give such a wonderful reward ?.....oh yes indeedy, it was a great scratchy and the pleasure was eye wateringly wondrous !!!!!!!....I think this topic deserves serious consideration as scientifically I'm sure there's someone who could write a paper on it, I'm positive it would be required reading at all educational institutes.

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Offline Donnah

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #12 on: 11/03/2004 23:20:32 »
Neil, I don't want to know WHERE you were scratching yourself!
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #13 on: 11/03/2004 23:45:29 »
Donnah.....and I don't want to tell you *smirk*

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Offline cuso4

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #14 on: 12/03/2004 12:22:49 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep@dsl.pipex.com

Sorry people to bring up this topic again....but I just had an itch and now I want to know why does it feel sooooooooooo good to scratch em ?!!!!, what is happenning to give such a wonderful reward ?.....oh yes indeedy, it was a great scratchy and the pleasure was eye wateringly wondrous !!!!!!!....I think this topic deserves serious consideration as scientifically I'm sure there's someone who could write a paper on it, I'm positive it would be required reading at all educational institutes.

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !'



I think people like to scratch the itchy areas because this action mix up the sensation impulses which the brain are receiving. When you scratch, the brain detects the feeling of scratch and forgot about the itch. This is a bit like rubbing your head after you accidentally bumped into a wall :D.

Angel
« Last Edit: 12/03/2004 12:23:23 by cuso4 »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #15 on: 15/03/2004 03:43:11 »
[|)][|)]http://www.animalyawns.com/AnimalYawns.htm  [|)][|)] YAWN !!

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Offline cuso4

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #16 on: 15/03/2004 08:29:36 »
Neil, the photos are great. Although I doubt some of the pictures (they are just opening their mouth but not actually yawning)

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Offline MissMontana

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #17 on: 15/03/2004 20:21:33 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep@dsl.pipex.com

[|)][|)]http://www.animalyawns.com/AnimalYawns.htm  [|)][|)] YAWN !!

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Neil, did you think that if you saw pictures of yawns that you would start yawning yourself and then fall asleep?  Otherwise how did you find that?
 

Offline MissMontana

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #18 on: 18/03/2004 22:24:14 »
Laughter is contagious too, I often find myself laughing just because someone else is even if I don't know what has made them laugh.  And why is it that things pop into your head and make you laugh at inappropriate times?
 

Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #19 on: 18/03/2004 22:34:06 »
T G...you're abso right about the laughter....it's contagious....I suppose to see someone in the realms of hilarity is actually funny, and eventually, as you said you just start giggling too.....I use it in my field of work, I smile at people all the time and 99 out of 100 times I always get smiles back,It totally breaks the ice plus I'm generally a happy bloke anyway and I just think smiles are nice :-)....I suppose, the same could be thought of crying too :-(.....with regard to the Yawns website...I honestly can't remember how I found it, it was during one of my silly early hour/late nights that I stumbled upon it...I probably just entered 'Yawns' into google or something and up it came...the cats are soo cute, and the hippos are funny too....

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Offline Donnah

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #20 on: 19/03/2004 21:31:40 »
People are naturally followers.  I used to go to outdoor crowded areas and stare up at the sky.  Never took long before there was a group around me looking up.  Right about then I'd walk away giggling.
 

Offline MayoFlyFarmer

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #21 on: 19/03/2004 23:58:52 »
I am the worst contagous yawner EVER.  My girlfriend very unkindly takes advantage of it.  Theres nothing worse for me than going to the zoo and yawning for the rest of the day to make up for the huge yawn I saw a polar bear take.  I loved hearing your comments on the subject but I had to stop after reading about 4 because I couldn't take it any more.  Thats it I need to go home now, maybe the walk will get this out of my system.  Why did I ever start reading this thread?!!!


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Offline neilep

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #22 on: 15/11/2004 03:19:24 »
Does this make you yawn ?...it did me... http://img16.exs.cx/img16/5701/yawn.swf

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Offline DrN

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #23 on: 16/11/2004 12:32:01 »
yawns are supposed to be something to do with social behaviour, to synchronise the behaviour of the group, so when one animal yawns the others in the group do so too, so their bodies are told its time to sleep. still not sure how watching someone yawn can actually make you do the same, but there you go, evolution maybe?
 

Offline duncan

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #24 on: 16/11/2004 17:34:29 »
In the Netherlands someone wrote a dissertation on yawning recently. What I remember he collected lots of material on yawning (art, books, scientific) and concluded that there's a sexual undertone in yawning. Seems to completely ridiculous but he managed to defend it anyways.

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Re: What is an itch ?...and why are Yawns contagious ?
« Reply #24 on: 16/11/2004 17:34:29 »

 

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