Scientific article

Why do we yawn? The importance of evidence for specific yawn-induced effects

Published inNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, vol. 35, no. 5, p. 1302-1304
Publication date2011

Gallup (this issue) believes that our recent review on the function of yawning (Guggisberg et al., 2010) is unbalanced and that it ignores evidence for his thermoregulation hypothesis. Here we address these criticisms and show them to be untenable. While we never claimed that the social hypothesis of yawning has "definite experimental support", we emphasize the importance of experimental evidence for specific effects of yawns when considering why we yawn. The only specific effect of yawning that could be demonstrated so far is its contagiousness in humans, some non-human primates, and possibly dogs, whereas all studies investigating physiological consequences of yawns were unable to observe specific yawn-induced effects in the individual of any species. The argument that from an evolutionary perspective, yawns must have a "primitive" physiological function arises from imprecise reasoning.

  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior/physiology
  • Social Behavior
  • Yawning/physiology
Citation (ISO format)
GUGGISBERG, Adrian et al. Why do we yawn? The importance of evidence for specific yawn-induced effects. In: Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 2011, vol. 35, n° 5, p. 1302–1304. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.12.004
Main files (2)
Article (Published version)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0149-7634

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