Why we yawn 我們為什麼打哈欠?

Sorry, am I boring you?

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請注意,點開這篇文章可能會讓你打哈欠!這並不是因為我們的節目太無聊或者你會被傳染上哈欠,而是因為只要我們看到別人打哈欠,甚至只是想想這個行為,都可能引發我們來一個大哈欠!但這究竟是為什麼呢,本集《隨身英語》將會解答你的疑惑。

課文內容

Vocabulary: Biology 詞匯:生物學

It’s a question that has puzzled scientists for a long time: why exactly do we yawn? 

In a recent breakthrough, scientists have discovered the part of the brain responsible for contagious yawning. It’s called the primary motor cortex, and controls movement in the body. When triggered it makes us yawn. But we can’t choose to yawn – it’s an involuntary imitation of other people. You know how it goes: your friend yawns, you yawn. 

Knowing which section of the brain is involved is only part of the answer. There is still a deeper question of ‘why’. And we don’t only yawn when others do, we sometimes yawn alone.

So, let’s start with the physiological theories behind yawning. As far back as 400BC, Greek physician Hippocrates speculated that yawning released harmful gases from the body, like “steam escaping from a cauldron”. His colourful theory is now, sadly, discounted

A more recent idea suggests that we yawn in order to cool down the brain. Just like a busy computer processor, our brains can overheat. Psychologist Gordon Gallup from the University at Albany has argued that the act of yawning delivers a rush of oxygen to the brain, helping us think more clearly. 

What about the connection between yawning and tiredness? We certainly yawn more when we’re feeling sleepy or sluggish, but why is this? Theories that it helps give the body extra energy are largely discredited, as we don’t yawn when we exercise, a time when we definitely need more get-up-and-go

Psychologist Catriona Morrison from the University of Leeds says yawning is an ancient reflex.  She told the BBC that it may have started in “the days of cavemen when someone had to be on watch all the time – yawning increases cerebral blood flow so can improve alertness.” 

What about our friends’ contagious yawning? Some think it comes down to empathy. While all vertebrate mammals yawn, only humans and chimpanzees ‘catch’ yawns from others. Studies have shown we yawn more frequently when in the company of close relatives and friends. Could yawning actually help us cement our closest relationships? 

If it does, next time you yawn in company, don’t feel too embarrassed. You’re just showing off your people skills.

詞匯表

contagious 會傳染的
motor 肌肉運動的,運動神經的
cortex (尤指大腦或其他器官的)皮層
involuntary 不由自主的
physiological 生理的
physician 醫生(尤指內科醫生)
cauldron (通常指架在火上的)大鍋
colourful 有趣的,有聲有色的
discounted 大打折扣的,有所減弱的
overheat 負荷過多,承載過多
rush (身體的)一陣感覺
sluggish 行動遲緩的
discredited 受到懷疑的,被質疑的
get-up-and-go 幹勁
reflex 本能反應
cerebral 大腦的
come down to 歸結為,歸根結底在于
empathy 共鳴,共感
vertebrate 有脊椎的
cement 鞏固(友誼)
people skills 人際交往能力

測驗與練習

1.
閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Are we more likely to yawn in the company of our family or strangers? 

2. Why don’t we think yawning gives you a rush of energy?

3. True or false: Humans and chimpanzees are the only mammals which yawn.

4. Which word means ‘caused something to start’?

5. True or false: The author found Hippocrates’ idea appealing.

2.
請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處

1. Professor Li’s theory is ______. It is widely used in academia.

discredited       discounted       valid       contagious

2. It really ______ to you. If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen.

Down       come down       downs       comes down              

3. A reflex is ______ action.

a voluntary       an involuntary       the voluntary       a volunteer

4. Tim has great ______. He always knows how to get the best out of his team.

people skills       empathy skills       person skills       cerebral skills

5. Wait until January to buy a new jacket and take advantage of the ______.

discounting       discounted       discounts       discredit

答案

1.
閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Are we more likely to yawn in the company of our family or strangers? 
According to the article, we are more likely to yawn when with family and friends.

2. Why don’t we think yawning gives you a rush of energy?
The theory is no longer popular because if it were true, it would mean we would yawn at times when energy is badly needed, such as during exercise.

3. True or false: Humans and chimpanzees are the only mammals which yawn.
False. The article says all vertebrate mammals yawn, but it’s only contagious in humans and chimpanzees.     

4.Which word means ‘caused something to start’?
Triggered.

5. True or false: The author found Hippocrates’ idea appealing.
True. The author seems to like Hippocrates’ idea, calling it “colourful” and saying it was “sad” it was no longer accepted.

2.
請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處

1. Professor Li’s theory is valid. It is widely used in academia.

2. It really comes down to you. If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen.

3. A reflex is an involuntary action.

4. Tim has great people skills. He always knows how to get the best out of his team.

5. Wait until January to buy a new jacket and take advantage of the discounts.

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