General Question

mangeons's avatar

Is yawning contagious?

Asked by mangeons (12203points) December 8th, 2008

Some people say that seeing a person yawn can make you yawn, but is that actually a physical proof or is it purely psychological?

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25 Answers

Mtl_zack's avatar

I’ve heard of research that says that yawning has something to do with pheromones and how people cooperate. It’s sorta like an appendix: we don’t need it anymore, but it’s still there. This research was on an English exam for one of the readings, but I forget who the author is. The author studied hippopotamuses and other pachyderms and related the findings to humans and dogs.

tyrantxseries's avatar


kevbo's avatar

Well, my old coworker told me once that a dog yawning in the car next to her made her yawn. I don’t know how you’d categorize that.

mangeons's avatar

lol kevbo.

scamp's avatar

Yep! Just reading this thread and thinking of yawning made me want to yawn!! ha ha!!

mangeons's avatar

lol scamp.

tocutetolive90's avatar

according to mythbusters it is. they did a study thing

mangeons's avatar

oo, I love the mythbusters!! adam is AMAZING!

cdwccrn's avatar

I know I yawn when I see others doing it ( yawning, I mean), and others do it when they see me doing it ( yawning, again).

mangeons's avatar

maybe because since you think yawning is contagious, it pyschologically is?

amandaafoote's avatar

I read this and yawned, honest blog.

mrjadkins's avatar

When you yawn, do you breathe in or out?

scamp's avatar

Both! First you take a big breath in, then you let it out, usually with a sigh.

adri027's avatar

When I’m on the phone and the person on the other end yawns I yawn so it’s probably all in our head

Foolaholic's avatar

Back when I first started singing with my A’Capella chorus, I would always be yawning when I left class. According to my teacher, it was a mechanism by body used to quickly replenish oxygen that the strenuous singing took from my inexperienced lungs. Or something like that.

AstroChuck's avatar

Yaaaaaaaaaaahh. What did you say?

ckinyc's avatar

How many of you yawned reading this thread? I did.

susanc's avatar

I did. Three times, as I kept reading new reports.

My dog yawns when she’s nervous or when someone tells her a lie.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I took animal behavior and neuropsychology at the college level and the word on yawning, as far as I’ve been taught, is that it is “contagious” in the sense that when you see someone yawn, you will instinctively feel the urge to yawn, though the yawn itself is not always executed. Pictures, videos and even animals yawning can trigger this same effect. Yawning was probably developed as a survival tool (as many other human behaviors were) and was probably some kind of communication device, similar to other visual, chemical, and auditory clues produced by humans and animals alike, possibly to warn others of danger. The danger theory takes its logic from the fact that the yawn is a means of getting more oxygen to the body when it needs it; if you were in danger, yawning would get more oxygen to your muscles, making you more alert, more awake, and probably harder, better, faster, stronger, etc (haha, there’s a joke in my science), which would be to your advantage in survival, which would afford you more opportunities to mate and reproduce and spread your wonderful yawning gene on to the next generation (hey look, it’s darwinian survival of the fittest!). So yes, it is “contagious.”

tonedef's avatar

WHOA! I yawned completely unconsciously while reading this thread. Even reading about it can make it happen.

How’s THIS thread for evidence of evolution?

scamp's avatar

I yawned while answering the breathe in or out sub question so I would give the correct answer!!

finkelitis's avatar

There was a study that I heard about where they linked yawning to a person’s empathy. Don’t ask me about the details, though.

finkelitis's avatar

Thanks tonedef, and lurve :)

futurelaker88's avatar

i yawned reading your question.

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