Eric Swenson / Daily Nexus

Quietly cramming on a Sunday night before the beginning of dead week, focused UCSB students were met with the apathetic sighs of first-year economics major Jake Bulvovich.

The passive aggression in the room was palpable as irritated undergraduates began flocking to their earbuds and headphones. When asked why he was so apt to continue sighing at Davidson, he simply shrugged and continued to scroll through Facebook.

However, not all of the students found this behavior troublesome. Fourth-year psychology major Erin Buffet was interested to learn more.

“The effect his exhale had on his local environment was so powerful. Once I saw one of the students without headphones close their book and walk away, I knew it was significant,” she said.

That night, Buffet would return back into her lab at Psych 2152 and use rodent models to examine the phenomenon. Stress was applied by fluctuating the volume of a Kidz Bop 20 recording. The results showed increase levels of yawning under minor amounts of stress.

Ricardo Moreno / Daily Nexus

According to Buffet, the rodents appeared more joyful for moments after the sighs, which would quickly level off, requiring another large exhale only seconds later, with the louder exhales producing longer periods of a joyful euphoria.

“I always feel better after I sigh, and this good feeling is only increased when I see the power I have to disturb other students. It reminds me that I have agency,” Sarah Summers, a self-proclaimed sigher, said.

Buffet said she expects her paper to make headlines as she waits for responses from the editors of Nature to respond.


Ricardo Moreno does not want to hear you sighing in the library this dead week.