Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is Yawning Air Conditioning for the Brain?

tidbits that tantalizeMaybe A Yawn Would Help...

Interesting. Not critical, or earth shattering. But, if you're bored - more about that later - take a minute and consider the humble yawn.

It's a universal act of man, regardless of heritage or culture. It's spontaneous, occurring when and where it darn well pleases, offering no apologies to the close-at-hand conversationalists enamored with their own tales. It's a sprinter, lasting on average a mere six seconds. It has the ability to raise one's heart rate a full 30%. It holds universal appeal, inducing over 50% of those who witness a yawn to partake of one themselves within the following five minutes.

But, why do we yawn?

Ah, well - if you can answer that, please step to the front of the class and claim your reward. There is a long line of notable researchers and scholars who will shake your hand, pat you on the back, and do their best to inhibit their desire to yawn until they seek the refuge of the hallway.

Theories as to why we yawn are plentiful: we yawn to increase our oxygen intake, or to expel carbon dioxide; yawning is an evolutionary holdover, originally intended to intimidate foes by baring one's teeth; yawning is the natural response to longwinded speeches and poorly written screenplays - the boredom factor.

However, researchers at the State University of New York at Albany say, "Not so fast!" They contend that yawning plays a much more critical role: it cools the brain.

The scientists studied the number of spontaneous yawns induced in three groups. Two of the groups performed activities known to cool the brain (breathing through the nose, and applying cold packs to the forehead). The third group - the Hot Heads - applied hot packs to their foreheads. All three groups then watched video clips that included people yawning.

The Hot Heads fell in line, yawning on cue, while yawning was virtually nonexistent in the other two groups. Hmm...

So, when you're next confronted with a situation calling for "cooler heads to prevail," you'll know what to do. A simple yawn or two should do the trick...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read more about yawning, see this from How Stuff Works.

3 Comments:

Blogger harleyblues said...

Lol love this posty! hehe of course yawning provides oxegyne to the brain .. but brain cool down? thats NEWS to me!
HB

4:05 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

Human beings have a surprising variation in their comfortable temperature ranges. When I am at work, feeling so cold that I can't think straight, my manager often swings by and starts asking people, "Is it hot in here?" Because of these differences between people, the school is never going to be able to climate-control the rooms to an ideal learning temperature.

air conditioning

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Michel L. Taylor said...

While this is one thing that often goes unaddressed by most homeowners, it is probably one of the most important elements of maintaining your home in a healthy and fit condition.

8:41 PM  

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