What causes humans to yawn? Many people believe yawning is a sign of tiredness and boredom, but that theory is being proved wrong. Recent experiments on yawning by scientists have uncovered some shocking information. The first piece of information found is that it is contagious. It’s been proven when you hear or watch someone else yawn, you will do the same. 

Yawning is thought to be a sign of fatigue but is it?

  The next piece of shocking information about yawning is that it has nothing to do with fatigue at all. In recent times, scientists are finding that yawning is a way to make yourself more aware and help detect danger more quickly. Yawning is a tool our bodies use to cool our brains and therefore become more vigilant.In other words, yawning can help someone feel more relaxed when in a stressful situation. Brain temperatures rise with stress and when you yawn, those temperatures go down which keeps the brain from overheating. This information is proved by a study done in Mohawk Valley at SUNY POLY. 

Why did scientists suddenly decide to study this topic out of the blue? A scientist named Dr. Gallup came up with a certain hypothesis and needed to know the truth about yawning. His hypothesis was that seeing other people yawn would increase the detection of dangerous snakes. He decided to look further into the yawning hypothesis and crafted a specific experiment to try to prove it. First, he brought in people into the laboratory and placed them in front of an eye tracker. Then, he played videos of people yawning for one group, and the other screen showed people with neutral expressions. Finally, he had the people take part in specific search tasks where they had to look for and identify a particular target. The images shown were either dangerous animals or harmless animals. The conclusion was that the people who watched the yawning videos were less distracted and took less time to find the danger throughout the test, and the group that watched neutral expressions got distracted during the experiment and therefore took longer to detect the danger.

As a result of these new findings on yawning, more scientists are looking into these studies and conducting trials, including Dr.Gallup who is ready to continue his work and expand his knowledge on the effect of yawning.

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