“The tongue peepin oot o the mooth seems tae be part o concentratin when it comes tae complicated an intricate tasks.”

Translated:

mooth: mouth.

“The tongue peeping out of the mouth seems to be part of concentrating when it comes to complicated and intricate tasks.”

[mooth spelled out in the phonetic alphabet.]

Illustration Friday. undone. You can view my IF thumbnail images collected together on this page which link to all my IF entries.

I’ve found two theories on why we stick our tongue out when concentrating but no luck in finding any research to back them up.

The tongue has one of the largest representations in the brain of any appendage. Its role in basic taste/odour as well as communication and sensation makes it a major attentional “draw” for the brain (try and ignore a bad taste or not play with a loose tooth with it). Visual represenation of sensory sensitivity of areas of a body.

The theory is that sticking out your tongue while it is compressed between your lips is providing a static “white noise” signal across a big chunk of your brain. Thus the amount of sensory input from your mouth is reduced and releases more of your brain for the task in hand.

The other is that it is a visual cue to ‘back off’, leave well enough alone. The theory by Desmond Morris is that It goes back to when you were a baby feeding at your mother’s breast.  If you didn’t want any more food, you stuck out your tongue and pushed the breast away.

Sometimes the tongue stays out as a visual signal to your mum that you are full and don’t need any more milk. Stay away, I’m full, I’m concentrating, I’m busy.

Anybody else got any ideas or sources on why we stick out our tongue when concentrating?