Cognition, Intelligence and Language Gender/Sexuality

On Yawning, Swearing, Credit Cards and Sex: Psych Files Brief #1

In this first “Psych Files Brief” episode, we look at whether swearing actually reduces your sensation of pain (ever stub your toe?), whether or not vertical stripes actually do make you look thinner (no surprise – the answer is no), whether you’re more likely to run up that credit card when you’re feeling low, and why is it (and when is it) that yawns become contagious?

Psychology Articles and Research



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  1. Avatar


    May 18, 2011

    AJ: funny comment. You should have a blog of your own. Glad you enjoyed the episode (even though you yawned through part of it).

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    AJ Jack

    May 18, 2011

    I like the brief format as a way of getting through a number of studies that don’t deserve an episode on their own.
    I was alert and listening with interest until you started talking about yawning and then I yawned through the whole section. Even just typing the word just then made me yawn. It seems contagious yawning is not limited to seeing someone yawn, even thinking about it can bring it on. (A good thing thinking about sex doesn’t have similar consequences)

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    Scott Milford

    May 18, 2011

    …or a psychopath. 😉

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    May 18, 2011

    Jade: yes indeed an excellent question! I don’t know the answer, but a great question. You must be a Psychology major…..

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    Scott Milford

    May 18, 2011

    Wow, that’s a great question, Jade. You’ve got me curious about this too, now. 🙂

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    May 18, 2011


    I’m just wondering, if yawning is something to do with empathy, would that mean that psychopaths do not yawn after seeing someone else yawn, because of their inability to feel such emotion?


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    Scott Milford

    May 18, 2011

    Hey, Michael…I love your briefs! 😉

    Seriously, I vote for keeping the briefs in your lineup. It adds something different to the mix and I love getting the overview of interesting psych-related stories of interest. Keep up the great work.


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    May 18, 2011


    I’m a big fan of the “brief”–interesting and informative. Keep choosing interesting articles and you can’t lose. It should be a fixture of your podcast (one that requires much less prep time, too…bonus!).

    On another note, I purchased the psych files app from itunes and had to restore my phone. I forgot to sync the app to my computer and now I can’t find it anywhere on Itunes…did it go away? Why?

    Thanks for the podcast–love it!

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    May 18, 2011

    Khamael: I agree – the myth about men thinking more about sex came about probably a lot because men are less timid about saying they think about sex than women are (and men like to brag).

    No kidding about the cat yawning right after you did. Good critical thinking on your point – could be coincidence – but still, this would be a fun area of research.

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    Khamael Al Safi

    May 18, 2011

    This is a great initiative! So much learning in a few minutes!

    Great choice of topics as well. I would agree that it is very likely that the number of times men think about sex was shown to be higher because of them being aware of their physical state at a given time and being more comfortable in reporting these thoughts as well.

    This might be a complete coincidence but I have witnessed contagious yawning across species. A cat did yawn right after I did a few months ago! Again, could be a coincidence but definitely something interesting to look through.

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