You don’t have to see a yawn to want to yawn. Hearing someone yawn or reading about yawning can trigger a yawn. Even thinking about a yawn can make you feel the need to yawn. Haven’t yawned yet? You might be schizophrenic. Or really old.
WHY DO WE DO IT?
Yawning is super primal
Thought to perhaps shake us up, get us moving. It may even re-engage the brain
There’s two kinds of Yawning
Spontaneous – this happens when you are tired or bored
yawning even happens in the womb. A human fetus yawns starting in the first trimester
Cool yawn fact:
Sir Francis Walshe, a British neurologist noticed in 1923 had patients who were paralyzed on one side of their bodies. When they yawned, they would spontaneously regain motor function on the paralyzed side for six or so seconds.
2. Contagious yawning
A study from Duke university suggests that things like tiredness, energy levels or even empathy are not strongly related to yawning.
It was previously thought that less empathetic people respond less to the yawn that isn’t necessarily so but,
a 2010 University of Connecticut study found that most children aren’t susceptible to contagious yawning until they’re about 4 years old.
And that kids with Autism as less likely to yawn when others do
The only consistent factor with contagious yawning is that we are less likely “catch” the yawn the older we get.
***Although he was notably dismissive of psychology as a pseudo-science, his research helped lay the groundwork of several important concepts in the then-nascent discipline.
Operant conditioning – Reinforcements and punishments to encourage or extinguish behaviors. (BF Skinner)
Behaviorism – John B Watson. All organism, man and animal alike, adapt to their environment by two means: hereditary and habit. Certain stimuli lead the organisms to make response. With such a system of psychology, Watson believed that a stimulus could be predicted, given the response; or, given the stimulus, the response could be predicted (Spencer, K., 1991).
Big Bang Theory: Operant Conditioning in Action
Sheldon offers Penny a chocolate whenever she performs a desired behavior. Soon Penny sees Sheldon and modifies behavior w/o chocolate.