Yawning may appear as a psychoneurotic symptom. For instance, one neurasthenic patient related that he had troublesome spells of yawning at times of anxious expectation; such as, when he was waiting for an important appointment.
In other neurotics, frequent yawning may indicate the patients' inability to concentrate, which they struggle to overcome. In hysteria, spasms of yawning may have the same significance as convulsive laughter or crying as an expressive movement.
Irresistible yawning spells were known to early clinicians as oscedo or chasmodia. Yawning may be used in social intercourse as a subtle expression of aggressive tendencies, implying that a partner is a bore.