Views And Reviews

An open and shut case

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 30 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:345
  1. B Dixon

    My most disquieting experiences on the lecture podium were addressing (a) a woman snoring loudly in the front row of Liverpool's Royal Institution, and (b) a young man yawning more or less continuously for 45 minutes at the University of Bristol.

    He was by far the worse of the two, but why was he yawning? The more one wonders about being yawned at, the less clear the answer becomes. When a person yawns, just as we are trying to say something significant, is it a neurophysiological consequence or their boredom? Or are they consciously telling us that they are bored? Certainly boredom and drowsiness are each associated with yawning. Yet there is no decent evidence that these things are causally related.

    So the issue broadens: what is yawning for anyway? …

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