Thursday January 18, 2018

Contagious yawning: Why we yawn when someone else does? Read to find out

The findings of Research on why is yawning so so contagious?

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Why we yawn when someone else does?
Why we yawn when someone else does? Pixabay
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  • Contagious yawning is triggered involuntarily when we observe another person yawn, it is a common form of Echophenomena
  • The  Research findings showed that our urge to yawn is increased if we are instructed to resist yawning
  • Echophenomena isn’t just a human trait, it is found in chimpanzees and dogs too

New York, USA, September 3, 2017:  Ever wondered why even if we are not tired, we yawn if someone else does? Why is yawning so contagious?

It is because the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered automatically by primitive reflexes in a brain area responsible for motor function, a research suggests.

Contagious yawning is triggered involuntarily when we observe another person yawn – it is a common form of Echophenomena -the automatic imitation of another’s words (echolalia) or actions (echopraxia).

The  Research findings showed that our urge to yawn is increased if we are instructed to resist yawning. And no matter how hard we try to stifle a yawn, it might change how we yawn but it won’t alter our propensity to yawn.

Also Read: Ever wondered why you Itch when another person scratches in front of you?

“This research has shown that the ‘urge’  is increased by trying to stop yourself. Using electrical stimulation we were able to increase excitability and in doing so increase the propensity for contagious yawning,” said Georgina Jackson, a Professor at the University of Nottingham.

“The findings may be important in understanding the association between motor excitability and the occurrence of Echophenomena in a wide range of conditions linked to increased cortical excitability and/or decreased physiological inhibition such as epilepsy, dementia, autism, and Tourette syndrome,” added Stephen Jackson, a Professor at the University.

For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the team used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to analyze volunteers who viewed video clips showing someone else yawning and were instructed to either resist yawning or to allow themselves to yawn.

“If we can understand how alterations in cortical excitability give rise to neural disorders we can potentially reverse them. We are looking for potential non-drug, personalized treatments, using TMS that might be effective in modulating imbalances in the brain networks,” Jackson said.

Echophenomena isn’t just a human trait, it is found in chimpanzees and dogs too. (IANS)

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Non-invasive brainwave technology can potentially cut post-traumatic stress

The technology works through resonance between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, where the brain is supported to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal. It requires no conscious or cognitive activity.

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Brainwaves can now potentially cure PTSD.
Brainwaves can now potentially cure PTSD.
  • The new technology aims to reduce the effect of post traumatic stress in an individual.
  • It can reduce many post-traumatic symptoms, including insomnia, depressive mood and anxiety.

Researchers have developed a non-invasive brainwave mirroring technology that can significantly reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress, especially in military personnel.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder characterised by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.

PTSD can cause Insomnia, Anxiety and many other mental problems.
PTSD can cause Insomnia, Anxiety and many other mental problems. Wikipediacommon

The symptoms include insomnia, poor concentration, sadness, re-experiencing traumatic events, irritability or hyper-alertness, as well as diminished autonomic cardiovascular regulation.

“Ongoing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, whether clinically diagnosed or not, are a pervasive problem in the military,” said lead investigator Charles H. Tegeler, professor, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina.

“Medications are often used to help control specific symptoms, but can produce side effects. Other treatments may not be well tolerated, and few show a benefit for the associated sleep disturbance. Additional non-invasive, non-drug therapies are needed,” Tegeler added.

In the study, published in the journal Military Medical Research, the team used a high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM) — a non-invasive method, in which computer software algorithms translate specific brain frequencies into audible tones in real time.

This provides a chance for the brain to listen to itself through an acoustic mirror, Tegeler said.

The results showed reductions in post-traumatic symptoms, including insomnia, depressive mood and anxiety after six months of using the brainwave technology.

The technology works through resonance between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, where the brain is supported to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal. It requires no conscious or cognitive activity.

The net effect is to support the brain to reset stress response patterns that have been rewired by repetitive traumatic events, physical or non-physical, the researchers said. IANS