11 Stories

Study Finds Long Yawns Are Sign of Big Brain

That's because yawns are actually a cooling mechanism for the brain

(Newser) - Yawning doesn't mean you're bored, it just means you've got one big, hot brain in your head, according to a study published Tuesday in Biology Letters . The Atlantic reports researcher Andrew Gallup had his students go online to collect videos of animals yawning (not a hard task... More »

Study: Men Are Less Likely to Catch a Yawn

So-called 'contagious' yawning has been linked to empathy

(Newser) - Contagious yawning has long been linked to empathy—we are more likely to yawn when someone we know yawns than when a stranger does. But now researchers in Pisa, Italy, have taken it a step further. They spent five years "surreptitiously" tracking real-world yawns, as Science puts it (the... More »

Here's One Possible Way to ID a Psycho

Study finds those who have less empathy are less likely to 'catch' a yawn

(Newser) - A human behavior that's often contagious may provide a simple clue to whether a person is a psychopath, researchers from Baylor University have discovered, per Smithsonian . A study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal finds that individuals with psychopathic traits—including coldheartedness, self-centered impulsivity, and "fearless... More »

Yawning? Your Brain May Be Overheated

Tiredness can affect body temperature

(Newser) - If you're yawning a lot, check the temperature: Researchers say we may yawn when it's warm out because that cools down the brain. In the study , which agrees with earlier research , experts at the University of Vienna showed pictures of yawns to pedestrians in Austria and Arizona, ScienceDaily... More »

Yawning Gets Less Contagious When We're Older

And researchers aren't sure why

(Newser) - It can be tough not to yawn when the guy next to you does—but apparently, it gets a little easier to avoid doing so as we get older. The finding comes from a study of contagious yawning among 328 subjects who were shown a three-minute clip of others yawning.... More »

Your Dog Can Catch Yawns— From You

Study: Man's best friend is more likely to yawn after an owner than a stranger

(Newser) - If you're showing signs of sleepiness, your pooch might do the same. It's already been suggested that yawning is contagious between dogs and humans, but researchers in Japan have taken things further: They've found that your dog is more likely to "catch" your yawn than a... More »

Scans Show Fetuses Do Yawn

Study says yawning definitely different from regular mouth-opening in scans

(Newser) - Ahh, the life of a growing baby—so tiring! New 4D scans of 15 fetuses found that fetuses do actually yawn while in the womb, ScienceDaily reports. But it's actually not because they're tired, the lead researcher says; rather, "the frequency of yawning in the womb may... More »

Babies Immune to 'Contagious' Yawns

Tendency to 'catch' yawns doesn't occur until age five, study shows

(Newser) - Yawning is contagious—unless you're a baby. Children are immune to the phenomenon until the age of five, a new study shows. Dogs and chimpanzees also "catch" yawns, even from people, but human youngsters only yawn spontaneously, psychologists found after studying 22 children. They showed each videos of other... More »

Judge Jails Yawning Man for 6 Months

(Newser) - Make sure you've had a good night's sleep before going to court in Illinois. Clifton Williams, 33, went to support his cousin during a hearing on a felony drugs charge, but during the sentencing he stretched his arms and let out a loud, distracting yawn. His cousin got just two... More »

Caught My Yawn? Aren't You Sweet

Study discovers contagious yawning is sign of empathy

(Newser) - If you yawn when someone nearby does, it may mean you're an empathetic person, a new study has found. Research shows that infectious yawning is a psychological phenomenon, limited to humans and some of their ape relatives, and that those more likely to "catch" yawns appear to be more... More »

No Tired Explanation: Yawning May Cool Brain

Evolutionary adaptation keeps the nervous system's motherboard cool

(Newser) - Yawning may be less a response to boredom than a natural mechanism for cooling off overheated brains, new research says. The human brain operates optimally when cool, much like a computer, and conditions like fatigue actually cause the organ to heat up, ABC News reports. A quick gulp of air... More »

11 Stories