Why do I stick out my tongue when I concentrate?

Thursday 27th August 2009
Submitted by Luis Villazon

Much of your brain is devoted to your tongue. It is a huge muscle, constantly moving, that has to keep out of the way of your teeth, help you swallow and avoid choking you. It’s covered with densely packed touch receptors that constantly update the mental map of the shape of your mouth. And your tongue is connected to the brain’s language centres so it often moves to partly form word shapes as you think. All this sends a huge stream of data to your brain. Sticking your tongue out or biting it, reduces its movement and cuts down on this torrent, which leaves more brain-power available to concentrate.

Why do so many snails appear on pavements?
previous qanda Article
Does Britain still lead the world in anything?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

There are currently around 6,000 different languages spoken around the world. Using statistical techniques to analyse the rate at which words and dialects mutate, it has been calculated that it...

Your DNA is arranged into chromosomes, which are grouped into 23 pairs. When a sperm cell is manufactured, the father’s genome is split in two, so that each sperm receives one chromosome...

Bacteria evolved in environments where the concentration of sugars and salts is the same as or lower than those inside the cell. High sugar concentrations cause the bacterium to lose water by...

A lunar month is slightly shorter than a calendar month, so every two to three years, there is an extra lunar cycle above the usual 12. This additional moon is called the ‘blue moon’...

If you put diesel in a petrol engine, it’d cause knocking, which would eventually cause serious damage. As for diesel engines, they use the fuel itself as a lubricant. Using petrol would...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here