Have you ever notice that ‘your mouth sticks out when you do something very important or very interesting?’ Such as you really focused on completing a physical task, such as cutting a straight line or shooting a free throw, you stick your tongues out. Why is that?
Concentration is defined as the one’s ability to direct one’s thinking in whatever directions one would intend. We can easily concentrate on things some of the times, but sometimes are thought got scattered subconsciously and our mind runs between different things.
When you really trying really hard to do something very interesting your tongue will just short of out all by itself in these moments of deep concentration. The tongue is a huge muscle, constantly moving, that has to keep out of the way of your teeth, help you swallow and avoid choking you.
Well, researchers are still trying really hard to know more about this. But they have some good ideas to explain this phenomenon. The poking out of your tongue is your brain’s way of stopping itself from getting the distracted or a bit of an attention seeker. It’s covered with densely packed touch receptors that constantly update the mental map of the shape of your mouth.
When you are concentrating on something, you are using the hemisphere of the brain also used for processing motor input. All the motor inputs get sent to the same areas of your brain that help you concentrate or coordinate movements specifically the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum. According to this hypothesis, your tongue gets poked out or clamped between your lips to stop all this annoying brain chatter when you’re trying to focus.
Some scientists think that at least in children tongue protrusion might not really have a purpose at all it might just happen because kids haven’t yet mastered using the different parts of their bodies separately. As a result, they could make ‘overflow movements’ movements that don’t have anything to do with the task at hand like sticking out your tongue while playing a heard video game.
Another new explanation also suggests that this wayward tongue might not have a purpose instead it might just be a cool leftover from when humans developed spoken language. Some scientists also suggest that language began with gestures and facial expressions then sounds were added in and eventually voice took over one key piece of evidence for this is that in our brains the same area in charge of speech called Broca’s area. Broca’s area is also in charge of some hand movements, there are also a lot of other ideas about how language developed.
So scientists are always looking for more evidence to support their hypotheses and according to one team some of that evidence might be you’re stuck out tongue in their paper published in 2015 in the journal cognition the researchers taped 14 kids as they played different games most of which required them to use their hands during the games, they recorded the number of times the kids poked their tongues out they found that at least some children stuck out their tongues for all of the tasks but that they poked them out more frequently during a language like a game.
In this game when the experimenter knocked on a table the child had to tap in response and when the experimenter tapped the child knocked it was a lot of two people having a gesture-based conversation and when the kids stuck their tongues out it seems like the tongue just wanted to join in the party and start speaking during this activity. The kid’s tongues also poked out to the right side most of the time which might point to activation in Broca’s area. On the left side of the brain if all of these conversations like games gestures and tongue protrusions really do relate to the same brain area. It could help support that language evolved from our hands to our mouths and even though it would mean that sticking out your tongue doesn’t have a compelling purpose.