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Yawning: More Than Just a Sign of Sleepiness

2023-11-08
Nyelv:English
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Have you ever stopped to consider why we yawn? Is there a specific intent behind yawning? While it is commonly associated with sleepiness, does the body have a purpose in mind when we yawn?

Perhaps by observing the behaviors of animal-people, we can gain some valuable insights. When animal-persons confront threats or hazards, their physical preparedness to react swiftly is crucial. A particular study suggests that yawning, especially the phenomenon of “contagious” yawning, may have evolved as a mechanism to promote group vigilance among animal-folk.

Interestingly, we see this similar behavior in humans as well. Dr. Adrian Guggisberg, head of neurorehabilitation at the University Hospital of Bern in Switzerland, states that yawning can be triggered by numerous factors. Skydivers have reported yawning before their jumps, while police officers claim to experience yawning prior to confronting challenging circumstances.

In addition to responding to changes in the state of awareness, yawning is influenced by alterations in the environment. When yawning occurs, the jaw stretches, resulting in increased blood flow in the face and neck. Furthermore, the deep inhalation and accelerated heartbeat associated with yawning facilitate a faster circulation of blood and spinal fluid throughout the body. This process potentially acts as a mechanism to regulate the brain's temperature when it becomes excessively heated.

A growing body of evidence indicates that contagious yawning is intricately tied to empathy. Interestingly, this phenomenon is absent in infants, only emerging around the age of four or five, just as empathy begins to develop. Moreover, research indicates that individuals with psychopathic personality traits, as well as those with autism, a condition associated with diminished empathy, are less prone to experiencing the yawn contagion. Additionally, the level of emotional closeness between individuals appears to play a significant role, with the yawn contagion being most pronounced among family members, less prominent among friends, even less so among acquaintances, and least prevalent among strangers.

Some experts, however, suggest that yawning more than three times within a 15-minute period without any apparent cause may be considered abnormal. On average, individuals may yawn up to 28 times per day, primarily during the transitions between waking up and going to bed.
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