Scientists, YEA SCIENTISTS, recently discovered that dogs are susceptible to contagious yawns. That’s right, dogs. From my preliminary, and therefore, final research I have concluded that no one, not even scientists, really know why we yawn. Some believe that we humans use yawning to stay awake, saying that the act of yawning cools off the brain. I don’t really understand that, but then again I’m no neuroscientist or even just plain scientist. How does it cool off the brain?
According to University at Albany psychology professor Gordon Gallup, “brains are like computers. They only operate efficiently and effectively when they’re cool. And, therefore, there are some very intricate cooling mechanisms that serve to regulate the temperature of the brain.” He said many things associated with yawning, like being tired, actually make the brain hot, and yawning can alleviate the heat. “Many people have the impression when talking to someone that if they yawn, it’s an insult,” Gallup said. “But according to our hypothesis, it’s really a compliment, because it suggests that brain mechanisms have kicked in to reinstate and optimize mental processing.”
So sure stretching your jaw and gulping down some fresh air may cool down your brain, but I’m still not satisfied. Other scientists, (SCIENCE) , claim that yawning, and more specifically contagious yawning is a sign of deep social empathy. Catriona Morrison, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Leeds believes “that contagious yawning indicates empathy. It indicates an appreciation of other people’s behavioural and physiological state.”
Also, furthermore and IN ADDITION TO! a scientist, ANOTHER scientist - Atsushi Senju from the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birbeck College – found that children diagnosed with autism do not yawn contagiously. This finding “supports the claim that contagious yawning and the capacity of empathy share common neural and cognitive mechanisms.” The scientists added it would be interesting for future research to look at whether contagious yawning is impaired in other conditions in which empathy is compromised, such as psychopathy or frontal-temporal dementia. Yes scientists that would be interesting!
So, dogs suffer from contagious yawning too, which means, WHICH MEANS! – that dogs are empathetic to humans. How sweet, how terribly sweet. Those scientists will stop at nothing to prove the wonderfulness animals. Good for them.
HERE’S a video of a dog yawning after a human; it has no sound.
And here are some animals yawning; it has dumb sounds.
Information found at these places….
Cooling off the old brain –
Autistic Children –