If you’ve ever accidentally yawned in front of your boss or colleagues, listen up. New research points to cooling the brain as the main purpose of yawning and not the obvious thoughts of being tired or bored.
As published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience, climate changes actually impact yawns. In an earlier study, pedestrians in Arizona were asked to look at people yawning and talk about their own yawn experience. The study was conducted twice — in the summer and then in the winter.
The results? Participants were almost twice as likely to yawn during the winter. Apparently this is done to inhale cool air to decrease brain temperatures.
And as pointed out in a Wall Street Journal piece, in another study people in the workplace or restaurants have yawned more often as a result of responding to other yawns when they were close with the yawner. Call it contagious yawning, if you will.
Researchers also concluded that yawning does not re-energize the brain. Merely, it simply cools it off a little bit.