Why? 7 Questions, 7 Answers!
We yawn when we are sleepy, stretch when we wake up in the morning, applaud when we rejoice, scream when scared... But why? We have compiled the answers to the question of why!
1. Why Do We Itch?
The itching feeling is a movement we have developed to protect our largest organ, our skin, from parasites and dead skin buildup. While almost all our other organs are protected by our immune system inside our body, the skin is highly vulnerable to external factors. Itching is contagious, just like yawning. Scientists explain this by the fact that during the paleolithic times when people lived together if one scratches for some reason then everyone else would start to scratch to protect themselves. The most practical solution to itching, which occurs when the nerve endings under our skin send electrical signals to our spine and pass the pain message to our brain, of course, is scratching. The most interesting thing is that while we all react differently to pain when we feel itchy all we do is scratch. However, since scratching also has an itchy side, we continue to scratch in a vicious circle. Are you starting to feel itchy? Quite normal, we said that itching is contagious.
2. Why Do We Clap?
Clapping is a gesture that almost all humanity uses to express their satisfaction, especially when in large groups. It is even used to show approval. Clapping to express satisfaction is a learned behavior. Babies usually start clapping before the age of one, the only reason for this is that they like the sound they make when clapping their hands. However, families (consciously or unconsciously) begin to give meaning to this movement. When we look at our closest relatives in the animal world, we can see that in some cases, they perform clapping-like gestures as well. These gestures are not due to pleasure but as a reaction, they make against a situation that they fear or need attention.
3. Why Do We Hiccup?
The "hiccup" sound coming out of our mouth without our permission... Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it can be annoying. Hiccups occur in our diaphragm, which is between our stomach and lungs until it comes out as a sound from our mouth. Normally, the diaphragm goes down when we breathe to fill air into our lungs and relaxes while exhaling, helping the air travel from your lungs to your mouth and nose. However, if something disturbs your diaphragm, it causes you to breathe quickly by contracting, and the breath you take hits your vocal cords, creating a "hiccup" sound. Eating fast or too much, consuming soda, stress, sudden temperature changes, and swallowing air while chewing something can cause hiccups. Since holding breath or breathing in a bag of paper will increase the carbon dioxide ratio in the lungs, it can relax your diaphragm and stop hiccups, but we recommend that you see a doctor for hiccups that do not stop for long.
4. Why Do We Yawn?
We yawn an average of eight times a day. If someone is around and we come across their yawning moments, or if we read something about yawning, that number can increase. Because yawning is contagious. (Have you started yawning?) We will come back to this topic, but first, let us answer the question of why we yawn. Although there is no fully verified answer to this question, a 2007 study by psychology professor Andrew Gallup found that we yawn to cool our brains. While yawning, the air we breathe deeply by opening our jawbone cools down the blood vessels going to our brain, causing our brain to cool. That is why we yawn more in a warm environment. Let us get to the contagiousness of yawning... Yawning is thought to be contagious, both because we empathize, and because we instinctively say that if someone cools her/his brain, then we should do too...
5. Why Do We Cry?
There are three main reasons why we cry: pain, emotion, and to protect our eyes... However, it is not that easy to explain the reason why we cry especially when we are emotional... We cry when a loved one dies, but we also cry when a baby is born... We cry when love is over, and at a wedding... Sometimes in a movie that has nothing to do with us, or a song we listen to... Aristotle defined the cry as the "cleansing the mind". Although researches conducted for hundreds of years do not reveal the cause of crying, the act of crying is considered as a social communication tool we have created to ask for help, comfort, and support. There are also experts who say that it is a communication tool that you can convey your call to those around you in a way stronger than verbal communication. One of the most important differences between the three situations that cause us to cry is the chemical composition of the tears that originate from our eyes. The tears we produce during emotional crying have a different chemical composition than other types of tears; they contain significantly more prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, leu-enkephalin, potassium, and manganese elements.
6. Why Do We Scream?
The scream, which is a primitive reaction we give in a dangerous situation, can also appear with emotions such as pain, fear, and sometimes joy. Sounds we normally hear with our ears reach the part of our brain that makes sense of questions such as where is the source of this sound, what is the gender of the speaker, how old is it, how is the tone; the scream takes a completely different route, and through our ears, it reaches the amygdala, the part of our brain that controls fear. Screaming allows us to announce the existence of danger and allows those around us to protect themselves from this situation. It reaches the amygdala region of our brain is due to that region giving orders to the hormones that cause us to act faster in the face of dangerous and scary situations. Although we no longer face dangers in settled life that will cause us to scream that much, experts agree that screaming has a relaxing effect. If you do not want your scream to go to other people's amygdala, be sure to scream when you get the right conditions!
7. Why Do We Sneeze?
The interior of our nose has a delicate texture and when it detects something of foreign origin, it sends an electrical signal to our brain. This signal tells our brain that our nose needs to be cleaned as soon as possible. Our brain signals our body to be ready to sneeze; it is the result of this signal that we stretch and close our eyes and make our mouth shrink by sticking our tongue to our palate. And sneeze! All this happens in a matter of seconds. When we sneeze, our eyes are closed involuntarily, but contrary to popular belief, sneezing with our eyes open does not have the effect of taking our eyes out of their sockets. Another interesting piece of information about sneezing is that in almost all cultures of the world when people sneeze, they wish each other good health and long life.