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*yawn*
March 2, 2007 11:20 AM   Subscribe

It begins in the paraventricular nucleus. It has been observed in the womb. Muslims believe it's an indication of Satanic possession. Too much of it might be a bad thing. Pandiculation sometimes occurs. In terminal rabies cases and in five percent of Clomipramine users it leads to spontaneous orgasm. Previous wisdom held it was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood and mirror neurons make it contagious. And yet still nobody knows precisely why it happens.
posted by inoculatedcities (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll have what he's having.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:25 AM on March 2, 2007


You had me at "spontaneous orgasm".
posted by DU at 11:30 AM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


the answer is...Charles Nelson Reilly's support hose!

/carnac
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:30 AM on March 2, 2007


This thread just made my ears pop.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:31 AM on March 2, 2007


finally, an upside to rabies.
posted by boo_radley at 11:37 AM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah - Old Yeller had a blast.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2007


"Yawning is from Satan and if anyone of you yawns, he should check his yawning as much as possible, for if anyone of you (during the act of yawning) should say: 'Ha', Satan will laugh at him."

There are times at which it has to be remarked that religion can be silly. This is one of those times.
posted by quin at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2007


Yawn.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:49 AM on March 2, 2007


Oddly enough, clomipramine is also known to cause ejaculation difficulties and impotence in a small percentage of cases as well. Quite strange as I can't think of too many other drugs that interact on both sides of sexual dysfunction.
posted by langeNU at 12:02 PM on March 2, 2007


That's true, langeNU, it's more often linked to anorgasmy. The tricyclics are truly bizarre.

Oh and goodnewsfortheinsane gets the award for most eagerly anticipated comment...
posted by inoculatedcities at 12:07 PM on March 2, 2007


I yawned 14 times while reading that last article.
posted by Parannoyed at 12:29 PM on March 2, 2007


Yawning is the physical manifestation of consolidating awareness.

Conscioussness is capable of stretching into multiple dimensions simultaneously. In the moments following such a period of "multi-processing", and returning to the more singular focus of whatever happens to be going on around you in the physical environment, there is a need to consolidate awareness into sharper focus. Yawning is this process.

Simple observation of when you yawn will reveal this.
posted by RoseyD at 12:32 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


A google search of the phrase "consolidating awareness" returns 121 results, none of which have anything to do with "conscioussness", consciousness, yawning, or physiology.

While I don't know which "dimensions" you are refering to entering simultaneously, I take your point: yawning appears to refocus our attention. But where is the evidence and how does this explain the mechanism that causes it or the events that precipitate it?
posted by inoculatedcities at 12:50 PM on March 2, 2007


"The Prophet said, "Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning..."

"Allah's Messenger said: Sneezing, [etc.]... are from (the acts of) Shaytaan (Satan)."


I'm confused
posted by subtle_squid at 12:50 PM on March 2, 2007


But where is the evidence and how does this explain the mechanism that causes it or the events that precipitate it?
Google is great. Science is greater.

You are greatest. Observe your own yawning. After all, where's the proof from science that conscioussness, er I mean consciousness, actually exists?

Thanks for the proofreading.
:)
posted by RoseyD at 1:08 PM on March 2, 2007


Hmmm, never knew it was a quite so misunderstood bodily function. I read somewhere years ago that yawning was the body's reaction to a relatively low oxygen level due to fatigue, etc, ie ones body beginning to slow down in preparation for rest. I see dogs and cats yawn all the time and they usually nod off shortly thereafter. Seems reasonable to me. Interesting post.

Just coming back from lunch, I'm in need of a nap. *stretch* Yaaaaaaaawwwwwwnnn. Sleepy-time at my desk.....
posted by elendil71 at 1:25 PM on March 2, 2007


The low oxygen explanation is the same as the high carbon dioxide one (they're correlated) and it seems to have been accepted as orthodoxy for a long time in the scientific community until Provine et al actually designed an experiment which disproved it. It's so frustrating for neuroscientists to explain because it seems so obvious but the proof remains elusive. Neuroscience is young though.
posted by inoculatedcities at 1:53 PM on March 2, 2007


I like what RosyD said: Yawning is the physical manifestation of consolidating awareness.

My ex-sister in-law says that when you start to pray, a period of time will elapse, and then you'll yawn. That's the point where you're hooking up with God -- sort of like a dial up modem connecting to the internet.
posted by Faze at 2:04 PM on March 2, 2007


Because neurons can cause each other to fire, activity in brain tissue can be hard to control because positive feedback can develop--which is part of the (fire-like) pathology of a seizure.

I wonder if yawning, by putting direct pressure on arteries in the neck, produces enough interruption in blood flow to the brain to rapidly damp down activity in an areas of the brain which would otherwise be unresponsive to a shut-down signal, or too slow to respond for some reason.

I think the incidence of orgasm gives some support to this view; spontaneous orgasm is associated with strangulation, as well, and it is compatible with the idea of re-focussing; you could argue that you have to shut down what's happening in the brain before it can attend to something new, or before you can go to sleep, for that matter.
posted by jamjam at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2007


Interesting response, jamjam.
posted by inoculatedcities at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2007


how did this come up? via google search for "spontaneous orgasm howto" ?
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2007


Actually, yawning is contagious because when one person yawns it equalizes the head pressure but therefore slightly changes the pressure outside the head so now everyone else has to yawn to re-equalize their own pressure in the head to the new outside pressure. That is why yawning is contagious.
posted by zoinks at 7:10 PM on March 2, 2007


Zoink's theory of re-equalization of new outside pressure is of about the same physical magnitude of second-hand cell phone electro-magnetic radiation. Hardly an explanation at all.

Did you ever notice that blind people do not 'catch' yawning, even though they may hear it? The contagion is purely a physical phenomenon, not one of air pressure.

Take a look at some of the publications of medical Sleep Labs (if you can find them).

Patients! Patience!
posted by PlanoTX at 8:42 PM on March 2, 2007


Wow.
posted by zoinks at 10:57 AM on March 3, 2007


Did you ever notice that blind people do not 'catch' yawning, even though they may hear it? The contagion is purely a physical phenomenon, not one of air pressure.

Inoculatedcities last link contradicts this:

Yawning is contagious: not only do 55 percent of people yawn within five minutes of seeing someone else yawn, but blind people yawn more after hearing an audio tape of people yawning (2).

posted by jamjam at 11:15 AM on March 3, 2007


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