Yawning—Why is it so Contagious and Why Should it Matter?
[Source: Medical X-Press]
Feeling tired? Even if we aren’t tired, why do we yawn if someone else does? Experts at the University of Nottingham have published research that suggests the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered automatically by primitive reflexes in the primary motor cortex—an area of the brain responsible for motor function.
Their study—’A neural basis for contagious yawning’—has been published in the academic journal Current Biology. It is another stage in their research into the underlying biology of neuropsychiatric disorders and their search for new methods of treatment.
Their latest findings show that our ability to resist yawning when someone else near us yawns is limited. And our urge to yawn is increased if we are instructed to resist yawning. But, no matter how hard we try to stifle a yawn, it might change how we yawn but it won’t alter our propensity to yawn. Importantly, they have discovered that the urge to yawn—our propensity for contagious yawning—is individual to each one of us.
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