Why do we open our mouths when shocked?

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Offline thedoc

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Why do we open our mouths when shocked?
« on: 18/03/2014 22:08:02 »
We use the expression "open mouthed" to describe an astounded response, usually to a dramatic unexpected event. This can be seen in that fabulous video of "Holland's Got Talent," when a nine-year-old girl blows the audience away with her beautiful voice, rendering the three judges literally "open-mouthed."  You can view it at:
That being said, why do people instinctively gape with open mouths when confronted when astonished or amazed?
Look forward to your response.
John Gamel
P. S. Keep up the great work. I never miss a podcast.

                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

[chapter podcast=1000645 track=14.03.18/Naked_Scientists_Show_14.03.18_1002079.mp3]  ...or Listen to the Answer[/chapter] or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 18/03/2014 22:08:02 by _system »


Offline David Cooper

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Re: Why do people open their mouths when shocked?
« Reply #1 on: 12/03/2014 21:42:28 »
It's maybe to make it easy for a doctor to give them medication, unless they're French.


Offline eternity

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Re: Why do we open our mouths when shocked?
« Reply #2 on: 20/03/2014 06:59:27 »
Perhaps its because we have a larger intake of air (eg.'He opened his mouth and gasped'). The two are usually simultaneous. A gasp is basically drawn air.
In fight or flight situations, maybe taking in more oxygen would prepare your body to run by oxygenating it more? We also open our eyes wider so we can see better.

That's my guess

(ps - i am in no way qualified to give an answer on this subject).
« Last Edit: 21/03/2014 01:43:44 by eternity »