Does Yawning Cool the Brain?
Jan 28, 2012 10:07AM
A study at Princeton University is the first to show that the frequency of yawning varies with the season and that people are less likely to yawn when the heat outdoors exceeds body temperature. The research monitored 160 people, 80 per season, during winter and summer in Tucson, Arizona. According to the researchers’ theory, it is possible that yawning in cooler temperatures works to cool the brain, while yawning in warmer conditions appears to provide no similar relief.
Research associate Andrew Gallup remarks, “The applications of this research are intriguing… for better understanding diseases and conditions such as multiple sclerosis or epilepsy, which are accompanied by frequent yawning and thermoregulatory dysfunction.” Excessive yawning may prove a helpful diagnostic tool.