Why do we Yawn?
While both research findings are correct, new studies show that yawning actually perks you up instead of doing the opposite (as many of us seem to think). Scientists point out that we have a tendency to yawn before a big event - athletes yawn before a race, pilots yawn before take-off and you yawn before an exam.
Humans are not the only ones affected by the yawning bug. Animals have been observed to yawn before feeding time while wild animals have a tendency to yawn before a fight.
The act is also highly contagious so if you spot someone with his mouth open, chances are, you too will follow suit. New findings highlight something totally unthinkable - yawning might be a primitive handover from our ancestors signalling a need for change. Or in other words, the act essentially prepares the brain for change.
Believe it or not but even a baby in the womb yawns as it shifts position, however children do not begin to copy other people's yawns until the age of four or five. Studies show that this period of growth is crucial to the learning process as the child improves his/her social skills.
Strangely enough contagious yawning is also linked to intelligence in children (who show the first signs of contagious yawning) surpassing other slow learners.
Hundreds and thousands of years ago, the campfire served as the main gathering point for all the members of the group. Researchers claim that as the people sat around the fire, warming themselves, they would yawn if the leader yawned, as a mark of respect. Those who were more supportive of the leader were more inclined to yawn.
Come to think of it, there might be some truth in it. Have you ever noticed yawning is more contagious if the yawner is someone you like or who you are close to?? It's true and there is ample documentation of the fact.
Despite all these advancements scientists still haven't figured out why we yawn before bed-time, but then again, that is our way of demanding a change -enough of TV, its time to go to bed!
Why do we Yawn? [5W&H for kids]
By Rama Kumaraswamy Thoopal; Illustration by Anup Singh
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