My patient let out a very audible yawn during our treatment session the other day. This meant that I, too, started to yawn.
I actually love this phenomenon: the contagiousness of yawns. It gives me an opportunity to discuss a bit of useless trivia with my patients.
You see, there was a study a few years ago which researched the behavioral traits that contributed to the likelihood of “catching” a yawn. The study linked an empathetic nature to catching a yawn, and psychopathic tendencies to not catching them. I always mention this article when my patients and I start passing yawns back and forth. Since I caught the yawn from my patient, I told him he could rest assured that I’m not a psychopath. This typically yields a laugh out of my patients!
I’m yawning incessantly just writing this blog post. The mere suggestion of a yawn makes me do so. I even catch them from my dog!
Last year, I learned another fact about yawns. A group of scientists studied why we yawn in the first place, trying to link autonomic responses to this very primitive behavior. Their hypothesis? It’s to cool a hot brain! Kind of like air conditioning for your cerebrum. Interesting, huh?
So if you ever wonder what kind of small talk I discuss with my patients on a daily basis, these stories are among my repertoire.
The next time you catch a yawn, know that you’re not a crazy person. Also note that yawning doesn’t mean you’re bored, or even tired. It just means that your brain is hot!
And if you’re not yawning after reading this, I’d like to know…
Did you know these things about yawning? I think it’s fascinating. How about you?
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.