Contagious Yawns


Everyone knows that yawning has something to do with being tired. Although we don't fully understand it, we can relate the two subjects together. If this is true, then why is yawning contagious? Just because someone else is tired, doesn't mean that you are but if they yawn you will most likely yawn also. Sometimes just thinking about yawning makes me yawn. Just looking at the picture below of the baby yawning, makes me yawn! Although there is no full scientific explanation for this, there are many theories. 


Yawning Really Is Contagious

It's true! One study found that when shown videos of yawning, around 50 percent of people also began yawning. It even happens among animals! A 2004 study observed the catching nature of yawns between chimpanzees and baboons and macaques. Perhaps most impressive, though, are dogs, who might start to yawn after just hearing their owners let one slip. Even merely thinking -- or reading! -- about yawning can trigger one (did we get you yet?).

Turns out, it's not really that strange of a reaction, Robert Provine, a psychology and neuroscience professor at the Unversity of Maryland, Baltimore County, told WebMD. Other very human reactions are equally "contagious" -- think about the last time you witnessed someone laughing! A number of studies have tied this catching nature of yawns to empathy, says Decker. "The yawning becomes more of a social phenomenon than a physiological phenomenon," he says, and helps explain why we yawn when we're not tired.

Many times I find that someone's laugh is also contagious. Simply hearing the sound of laughter can make me laugh because it's funny. I am sure this has happened to some of you before. So, scientists are hypothesizing that yawning being contagious has somewhat of the same reasoning of laughing being contagious. Another study shows that yawning is even more contagious between close friends.The closer you are to someone the easier it is to "catch" their yawn. I didn't think that yawning showed an emotion that I could actually "empathize" with but maybe the thought of someone else being tired makes me realize how tired I actually am. Maybe it even just causes one to remember a time when they were tired and inflect the same feeling. Either way we have decided that yawning is in fact contagious. Next time I am bored in class I'm going to make myself yawn and watch it spread around the room.


I definitely think yawns are contagious and I am guilty of yawning while reading this blog post! I found an article that explains more reasons as to why we yawn when others do. Did you know that people with autism are half as likely to yawn when they see someone else does? Depending on how severe the case of autism is, the person may be immune to "catching" yawns! I thought that was so interesting! Also, only humans, chimpanzees and dogs have shown signs of yawns being contagious. Yawning is a sign of social bonding and could "diffuse stress after a period of being on high alert and spread a feeling of calm through a group"

Once someone pointed this out to me and now I can't help but think if I see someone in class yawning if I will yawn too! Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. I wanted to explore on why I react in a different way to yawning than other people, such as my eyes water completely to the point where it seems like I'm crying. According to this article,, the muscles in around your eyes are squeezing your tear ducts, but it's amazing to me that everyone is different, just like I 'tear up' more than someone else.

Yawning totally is contagious! I have also literally watched a yawn go around a classroom from person to person. I've read tons of theories as to why we yawn but it's really a curious thing because a yawn is really just taking in more air. Nothing too out of the ordinary.
They also proved yawns are contagious on Mythbusters so it must be true!

Yawwwwnnnn time to do more blog posts..

While reading about this article, it made me think of when I sometimes yawn when I'm nervous or anxious. It just happens right along with the sweaty palms and crazy butterflies. Am I the only one who does that? I looked up yawning caused by anxiety and found this helpful site.
It says that while anxious, you're more likely to hyperventilate, which does not supply your body with enough oxygen. You then yawn to get a full breath of air that tells your body to relax. Some people, like Apollo Ohno, use yawning before competition to calm down and get extra oxygen into his body.

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