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

Lobsters and other shellfish have harmful bacteria naturally present in their flesh. Once the lobster is dead, these bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by...

Beard hair is quite different to head hair; it is coarser, curlier and doesn't fall out as we get older. Comparatively little work has been done on the genetics of human hair colour, but it is...

Van de Graaff generators produce the highest voltages. Charge is carried by an insulating belt from a lower electrode to another at the top, accumulating across a metallic dome. They can be...

Ordinary glass absorbs 97 per cent of the UVB rays that cause sunburn and some skin cancers, and 37 per cent of the less harmful UVA radiation. This translates to a protection of about SPF30, so...

Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to...

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...