Discussion in 'Human Science' started by sargentlard, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

    Why do we yawn...I often yawn when browsing the internet after work, or yawn during work.

    What purpose does it serve? and is it a momentary paralysis of the lower jaw?

    Also, why is it a subconsious act? I tried to catch one of my yawns in action but no dice. If you wait for one to hit it won't come....and if you try to catch one in motion it quickly disappears once you become too aware of it...why?

    Always yawned but never knew why.
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  3. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

    I think it is because you are breathing too slow/shallow and your body makes you yawn to get more oxygen.
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  5. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

    So why does it only occur when tired? Why isn't it a constant occurance?
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  7. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    I think it's a holdover from a primitive call system our ancestors utilized before language.

    Consider the contagious nature of the yawn. This is a dead giveaway to innate call-type behaviors. When a troop of vervet monkeys sees a snake, one starts to give the snake-call and the call is soon picked up by the other members of the troop that haven't even seen the snake. It's not optional. It's mandatory. They hear the call and they are immediately and compulsorily prompted to emulate it.

    Laughter is another holdover of a similar type. And is also contagious, but perhaps not as contagious as a yawn and the reason for this, I think, is that laughter is utilized more openly than the yawn. The yawn has lost its overt meaning. The laugh has not. However, the laugh track of movies inspires the audience to laugh at critical points. And professional laughers inhabit the audience of sitcoms and comedic plays to lead the laugh fest.

    Now. What purpose does the yawn serve?
    Is it physiological?
    Possibly. But not solely. I think there are various theories of nitrogen deficiency or some other mumbo jumbo but the truth is there is no answer. No one knows.
    I suspect it has no physiological function. It's completely psychological.
  8. Roman Banned Banned

    yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn. yawn.

    Just typing this I've yawned twice.

    Reading these few posts I've yawned a few times. Yawning is a mind virus. But I haven't a clue why we do it.
  9. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    You know something that yawning does do phsyiologically without a doubt? It stretches your eustachian tubes (or whatever you'd call it when you pop your ears.) Perhaps it serves some type of equalization purpose for the middle ear? Can't see why that would be too important to early primates who don't tend to travel very far though. But, then again, our ancestors might have roved quite far...

    That doesn't explain the contagious quality though.

    Consider that yawning shows the teeth and can be considered a threat display. In chimpanzees smiling is a threat type behavior.
  10. Roman Banned Banned

    You know, I real yawn, thet gets my yawn off, doesn't quite do the same for my eustachian tunes or whatever. I find when I'm on plane and my ears are exploding, that it takes a very precise jaw movement to 'pop' my ears. Though similar in appearance to a ywan, it is entirely different.

    Is it th same with you?
  11. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    A yawn definitely pops my ears.
    But, then again, maybe I'm doing it on purpose.
    I can actually start a yawn by kinda pushing out my jaw to pop my ears which prompts a yawn.

    Actually. It's not pushing my jaw. It's a certain tensing of my tongue in a precise manner. Followed by the jaw. Then the yawn.
    I've had ear problems all my life though. (Too much rock n' roll.) I'll probably be deaf before it's all over.
  12. Roman Banned Banned

    I've had ear problems since I was... younger? (I'm still quite young, compared to you, old man.) I blame that on flying from an early age.
  13. whitewolf asleep under the juniper bush Registered Senior Member

    We yawn when we're sleepy. How is taking a deeper breath related to sleepiness?

    Shite this thread made me yawn 3 times. Invert, it's your fault. That's it, we discard Avatar, you're my new pet now.
  14. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

    dudes, my answer was not a guess, thats what scientists think is the reason. you yawn more when you are tired because you are breathing slower and not getting enough oxygen. however, I can't answer why it is contagious, that is still a mystery.
  15. Darkman Registered Senior Member

    I agree with Cato: it's because the brain needs more oxygen so a deeper breath is taken. Isn't it funny how just the mention of a yawn can make one yawn?
  16. holdemup316 Registered Member

    it was a defensive mechanism for animals such as lions and alligators......its actually known that its been passed down from breed to breed

    some people believe that dogs now a days actually make people yawn
  17. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    On the subject of yawns being a means of recovering from a brief state of hypoxia. Well. That's all well and logical, but it's nothing more than that. It's never been proven that this is the case. It's just a fancy story.

    Now. Back to the call type behavior.
    I've just been going back through my notes and have come across another primitive behavior which fascinates me to no end.

    Jane Goodal is famous for her studies of chimpanzee societies. There is a good deal of debate over the efficacy of her research seeing as how she seems to be unable to not get involved in their society. Feeding them and such. Much bad behavior has been caused by this noxious habit of hers.

    However, one very interesting thing happened.

    Goodal leaves crates of bananas in key positions to lure the chimpanzees out to where she can observe them more easily.
    One time, a male chimp who was low on the hierarchichal scale of the society stumbled across a banana cache. The chimp would only benefit by keeping quiet about the find and gorging on the bananas himself. But, there is an innate behavior that prompts a found food response. So, this chimp finds the food and begans to make the call automatically. The chimp seems to not be pleased with its behavior as evidenced by its trying to muffle the sounds of the food call with its hands.

    See. This is fascinating to me. There is much discussion about the evolution of language and cognition. About where language originated. A key element in the debate is the parietal lobe, specifically dealing with syntax and grammar. The parietal lobe is often equated with the hand. It's sometimes called the Lobe of the Hand.

    So, consider early humans constructing tools of increasing complexity. More and more steps from start to finish of the tool making process. This has been conjectured to equate to the construction of complex forms of language.

    And sign language is conjectured to be one of the earliest forms of language. Sign and body language combined with the primitive calls of our ancestors.

    And this is why the chimpanzee covering his mouth with his hand is so fascinating to me. The chimp has a compulsory response to the finding of food. But, he seeks consciously to suppress this instinct. But, he is unable to suppress the vocalization, but he can use his hand to muffle it.

    Do you see it?

    Or do I have a hard-on about this for nothing?
  18. Satyr Banned Banned


    Sorry, I was trying to read the inverted post.
  19. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    Aww. Satyr, why don't you like me? I like you.

    I suppose you'd probably find it far more interesting and non-yawn-worthy if it were to do with the individual vs. society...
    Oh. Wait. It actually is about that.
    Goodal's chimp is caught in the the same situation in which we humans are caught in. To go your own way or to follow the crowd.

    Goodal's chimp shows that we don't have the choice to evade society's mandates in all situations. Surely we have more control over our instinctual reactions than that chimp there, but we still can't stop yawning when we see another yawn. And we can't stop laughing when others laugh. And we can't stop burying hookers in the desert after a wild night in Vegas... Oops. I guess that's just me.

    See. Look at it that way, Satyr. It's your old speciality.
    What's wrong?
    Are you sleepy?
  20. Satyr Banned Banned

    invented nil
    Truth is…inverted….shucks……I…..I….do like you.

    The crowd is fun.
    All kinds of goodies fall from their pockets.

    You must have me confused with another.
    I, Satyr, have no “speciality”, except for mockery, mirth and mayhem.
  21. Kotoko Laptop Persocom Registered Senior Member

    In medical school, they are taught that people yawn because oxygen levels in the blood is low, and that is supported by studies. During normal breathing while just sitting around, we don't breathe in fully and fill our lungs to capacity. For the most part, we fill our air sacs only at the bottom of our lungs while the remainder remains mostly collapsed. When that happens over a period of time, the lungs actually stiffen a bit and the brain is thought to prompt the body to yawn to get more air into the lungs.

    Confusing the situation is that fetuses appear to be yawning in some ultrasound pictures, when they do not have lungs developed to do so. Yawning also seems to be a symptom of multiple sclerosis and other medical conditions, and no one can scientifically say why that is. The strangest thing, however is that some male animals including the human male species yawn when their penis becomes erect, and that one has baffled scientists for a long while.

    It stands to reason that if you slouch when you are bored or tired, your lungs will likewise not fill to capacity. Also, in a room that is deprived of normal oxygen levels, the same phenomena will exist. People also yawn when seeing others yawn, and even at the mention of a yawn. It's all very strange.
  22. DarkEyedBeauty Pirate. Registered Senior Member

    I was just reading an article the other day about scientists who were exploring the possibility that some yawns are contagious because they are done at a time when there is a mutual feeling between people, whether it be bonding via finding common ground or sympathizing with people.

    Sounds weird, right? But I actually had been experiencing this. When I would meet someone new, the first time that we reallyu clicked or "got" each other...I would yawn...and it wasn't a tired yawn, but a sort of excited kind of good feeling yawn. I believe yawns release endorphins as well.

    At any rate, in the article they said that possibly yawns are "contageous" in this manner because they were used, long long ago in our prehistoric days, to convey the mutual feeling of "bedtime" and "time to wake up" when we couldn't speak. Almost...an alarm clock ( is what they said).

    Anyway...sounds plausible as I have my own experiences.
  23. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member


    Goes to show how valuable your nursing school was.
    I've seen no reference to any studies anywhere verifying this hypoxia scenario.
    I don't suppose they pointed the way to the studies themselves, eh?
    Teaching by anecdote?

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