Why is yawning contagious?


Hi class!

I know I'm not alone on this subject, so what is it? Why is yawning so contagous?

Personally I can't even look at someone yawning without yawning myself. Even typing the word yawn is making me yawn.

On the Discovery News Website it explains that yawning is a form of social and emotional bonding. Once one person does it, especially in a group, everyone else will also. Researchers say that kids don't start "catching yawns" until age four.

"Emotional contagion seems to be a primal instinct that binds us together, yawning may be apart of that" said Molly Helt, a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. (dicovery news)

Since yawning is said to be a form of social bonding, studies have shown that people with autism are half as likely to "catch a yawn", and in more serous cases, sometimes not at all.

Researchers are starting to think that yawning could help doctors diagnose developmental disorders.

The research could also lead to a better understanding of how people communicate and interact.

The brain had hundreds of thousands of "mirror nurons" which lets us copy an act of someone else of something else.

Now, watch this and try not to yawn!


Thanks for reading!

give me your questions or feedback!





As soon as I began to read your blog, I immediately began yawning, of course. I also had always wondered why yawns catch on. I find it interesting that it is a social and emotional interaction. I would have never related it to that. It is interesting that something as simple as a yawn can help detect developmental issues. I hope that scientists can find more evidence on yawns and why exactly they are so compulsive.

I always wonder why yawning was contagious. This was a very interesting article.

This is a great topic! And I admittedly yawned while reading. One thing I found interesting was the social and emotional interaction. This is not something that is specific to humans though the same can happen in animals. In a study at the University of London, 29 dogs observed an unfamiliar human either yawning and 21 dogs yawned in response to the yawning human.

More information on this website if you care to look into it

This is very interesting and a great topic to think further about. While it may be a sociological question and not necessarily a hard scientific one, your post got me wondering: In other cultures, are yawns "contagious" or is it something that only works here--a place where the notion is part of our culture? I would be curious to find that out.

This is such a good blog post idea. I seem to always be the one to start the yawning and I always end up yawning when I see someone else yawn. I have heard that yawning is contagious but I never really believed it. Now I do.

I never realized how much yawning can tell us about our society. It makes you think of how every little everyday thing we do can impact our view on society, or how society views us.

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