How do you react when you’re sitting at an extremely boring lecture or a meeting? The instant reflex action that you succumb to is a long yawn. But what if we told you that the duration of your yawn is directly proportional to the size of your brain? Would that be bizarre?
Before delving deep into the research, it’s a known fact that everyone yawns. We yawn day in and day out, but do we realise why do we do it?
Yawning is common
Not just humans, animals yawn too. The pattern of yawning is common among humans, animals, and even birds. For those of you who didn’t know—human beings yawn even while they’re in their mother’s womb and continue yawning all their life. Although yawning is contagious, we also yawn when we’re alone. This is spontaneous yawning.
Spontaneous yawning usually occurs when we’re sleepy or when we’re bored. But in other cases, yawning can be a sign of alertness, thus making yawns more complicated than we think.
What’s the reason that we yawn?
Psychologists reveal that we yawn mainly to give our brain the much-needed breather it deserves. Yawning cools your brain. When individuals yawn, their jaw increases the circulation to your skull, pumping warm blood out of your brain. With your yawn, your inhaling process also increases. Due to the long inhalation, your body takes in a wave of air into your nasal and oral cavities, cooling your cranial arteries.
Theory deduced by researchers
Research reveals that the longer yawn, bigger the brain you have. Although conducted on animals, the research found out that the length of the yawn rightly predicted the size of an animal’s brain.
In an interesting twist of events, the researchers viewed numerous YouTube videos featuring various animals. The yawns of animals like cats, dogs, foxes, gorillas, camels, horses, hedgehogs, chimpanzees, rats were measured at a stretch. These discoveries led the researchers to determine that the longest yawns were that of humans, whose brain weighs close to three pounds.
Researchers have claimed that the longer yawn, the higher is the physiological effect. The yawn duration should correlate with the brain size and complexity, as having a more neuron-dense and bigger brain might need more blood flow.
What was the result of his theory?
As mentioned above, the results for the study conducted on animals like camels, mice, cats versus human beings were as follows:
Yawn duration of camels: 4.8 seconds
Yawn duration of dogs: 2.4 seconds
Yawn duration of cats: 1.97 seconds
Yawn duration of people: 6.5 seconds
Others beg to differ from this theory
While there is “the longer yawn, the bigger brain” theory gaining momentum, there are also skeptics who doubt this theory. Some scientists believe that yawns are actually some kind of communicative signal.
Although an interesting theory, this theory still needs to be researched thoroughly before any solid conclusion can be deduced from this.
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