A common belief is that yawning helps to increase the oxygen supply. However, previous research has failed to show an association between yawning and blood oxygen levels. New research by a team led by psychologist Andrew Gallup of SUNY College at Oneonta now reveals that yawning cools the brain.
To test this, Jorg Massen and Kim Dusch of the University of Vienna measured contagious yawning frequencies of pedestrians outdoors in Vienna, during both the winter and summer months, and then compared these results to an identical study conducted earlier in the arid climate of Arizona. Pedestrians were asked to view a series of images of people yawning, and then they self-reported on their own yawning behavior.
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