Navigation Links
Yawning to cool the brain
Date:5/6/2014

Common belief is that yawning helps to increase the oxygen supply. However, previous research has failed to show an association between yawning and blood oxygen levels. New research by a team of researchers led by Psychologist Andrew Gallup of SUNY College at Oneonta, USA now reveals that yawning cools the brain.

Sleep cycles, cortical arousal and stress are all associated with fluctuations in brain temperature, Yawning subsequently functions to keep the brain temperature balanced and in optimal homeostasis. According to this theory, yawning should also be easily manipulated by ambient temperature variation, since exchange with cool ambient air temperature may facilitate lowering brain temperature. Specifically, the researchers hypothesized that yawning should only occur within an optimal range of temperatures, i.e., a thermal window.

To test this, Jorg Massen and Kim Dusch of the University of Vienna measured contagious yawning frequencies of pedestrians outdoors in Vienna, Austria, during both the winter and summer months, and then compared these results to an identical study conducted earlier in arid climate of Arizona, USA. Pedestrians were asked to view a series of images of people yawning, and then they self-reported on their own yawning behavior.

Results showed that in Vienna people yawned more in summer than in winter, whereas in Arizona people yawned more in winter than in summer. It turned out that it was not the seasons themselves, nor the amount of daylight hours experienced, but that contagious yawning was constrained to an optimal thermal zone or range of ambient temperatures around 20o C. In contrast, contagious yawning diminished when temperatures were relatively high at around 37o C in the summer of Arizona or low and around freezing in the winter of Vienna. Lead author Jorg Massen explains that where yawning functions to cool the brain, yawning is not functional when ambient temperatures are as hot as the body, and may not be necessary or may even have harmful consequences when it is freezing outside.

While most research on contagious yawning emphasizes the influence of interpersonal and emotional-cognitive variables on its expression, this report adds to accumulating research suggesting that the underlying mechanism for yawning, both spontaneous and contagious forms, is involved in regulating brain temperature. In turn, the cooling of the brain functions to improve arousal and mental efficiency. The authors of this study suggest that the spreading of this behavior via contagious yawning could therefore function to enhance overall group vigilance.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jorg J.M. Massen, Ph.D.
jorg.massen@univie.ac.at
43-699-113-10182
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Functioning of aged brains and muscles in mice made younger
2. Stem cells from teeth can make brain-like cells
3. Nanomerics, UCL, H Lundbeck & Exeter University to research new brain therapeutics
4. Biologists discover a key regulator in the pacemakers of our brain and heart
5. Quantitative volumetric analysis of the optic radiation in the normal human brain
6. Controlling brain waves to improve vision
7. Animals with bigger brains, broader diets have better self control
8. Study finds long-term survival of human neural stem cells transplanted into primate brain
9. First brain images of African infants enable research into cognitive effects of nutrition
10. Eavesdropping on brain cell chatter
11. How kids brain structures grow as memory develops
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Yawning to cool the brain
(Date:11/16/2016)... , Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory Inc ... and security for consumer electronics, and VeriTran ... and retail industry, today announced a global partnership ... way to authenticate users of mobile banking and ... TrulySecure™ software which requires no specialized biometric ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... SANTA CLARA, Calif. , Nov. 14, ... of the biometric identification market, Frost & ... Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Visionary ... leading player in the biometric identification market ... a multi-modal verification solution for instant, seamless, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 On Monday, ... call to industry to share solutions for the Biometric ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP ... are departing the United States , ... and to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare Health Inc ., ... been recognized as one of the top 100 companies ... international listing that distinguishes the top digital health companies ... great step forward this year continually upgrading our product ... customer base and team," says Len Grenier , ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016 Part of 5m$ Investment in ... ... Aptuit, LLC today announced that it had successfully completed the ... compounds have increased the Screening Collection to over 400,000. The ... capabilities of the company. This expansion, complemented by new robotics ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... T3D Therapeutics, Inc., a ... administered treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), today announced that CEO, John Didsbury, will ... of T3D-959 in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s patients at CTAD 2016. Preliminary results ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... Microbial genomics leader uBiome will ... Huffington, as part of the Thrive Global pop-up store. This stunning 5,000 square ... explore the microorganisms in their gut, collectively known as the microbiome. , The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: