Science is still not able to explain this contagious phenomenon

  • by

It is hard to believe that even after centuries of discoveries and scientific research there is one human behavior that science is not able to explain

We do it daily. We do it multiple times a day. And its highly contagious.

Can you make a guess?

We are talking about yawning.

Yes that is correct. Scientists aren’t sure why people yawn.

The history of yawning (yawn!)

As per research by Quartz,

As far back as 400 BC, Hippocrates thought yawning removed bad air from the lungs before a fever. In the 17th and 18th century, doctors believed yawning increased oxygen in the blood, blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow itself. More recently, consensus moved toward the idea that yawning cools down the brain, so when ambient conditions and temperature of the brain itself increase, yawning episodes increase.

But despite the theories the scientists don’t know why people yawn or what is the biological reason for it.

However there are theories that say that yawning

  • helps us bring more oxygen into the blood and move more carbon dioxide out of the blood.
  • is an involuntary reflex to help us control our oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
  • stretches the lungs and lung tissue to make us feel relaxed.

Yawning in other species

You would be surprised to know that is not just humans who yawn. There are species of chimpanzees, bonobos, macaques and wolves that yawn too.

They do it to show they are tired or to show they are stressed.

Yawning is contagious

Even reading about yawning can make you yawn (are you yawning right now?)

Research tell us that people who are more empathetic tend to be more susceptible to contagious yawning. Researchers have also observed that chimpanzees can “catch” yawns from humans.

Good news is that yawning is a thermoregulatory behavior that helps cool down the brain. Here are some other interest facts about yawning:

  • The average person yawns almost 8 times per day
  • The average yawn lasts about 6 seconds
  • Babies yawn even before being born (in the womb)
  • Contagious yawning occurs between people who have an emotional bond
  • Yawning can help you relax as you catch a rush of cool air

We hope you enjoyed this article made you yawn!

Are you curious about more scientific questions? Below we have covered some for you:

Leave a Reply