General Question

silexicon's avatar

Why is it when someone yawns, other people are likely to yawn as well?

Asked by silexicon (31points) November 24th, 2007 from iPhone

Are yawns really contagious?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Already asked and answered. Check out yawns

silexicon's avatar

I appreciate the link, but the question still remains unanswered.

gailcalled's avatar

That’s because there is no scientific answer. Why is the gag reflex infectious as is, often, hilarious laughter? There may be some murky prehistorical social-biological reason why the members of the tribe should yawn, throw up or giggle together, but I haven’t a clue as to how to do the research. Safety in numbers? Not wishing to deviate from tribal behavior? Who knows?

gailcalled's avatar

Apparently even Bill Nye, the Science guy, can only speculate. My guess seems as good as his.

See contagious yawns; dogs and us

finkelitis's avatar

There was an article I saw recently—in the New York Times, I think, but I don’t remember when—that linked yawning and empathy. That is, people who were more empathic were also more likely to yawn when someone else did.

This doesn’t give a full answer, of course, but it’s a suggestive correlation.

silexicon's avatar

Thank you both. I will keep looking for a definate answer.

Ever yawn while talking on the phone & the person you are talking to yawns? Seems trivial but it happens… :0

punkrockworld's avatar

probably cuz you’re boring each other on the telephone lol

Jonsonite's avatar

I read recently about a theory that people yawned together to signal times of sleep and wakefulness, to get everybody in the family, tribe, whatever awake and asleep at the same time. Because when you yawn, you get sleepier, or wake up. I have no further information to offer, but it seems plausible to me.

yellowbrat789's avatar

haha omgsh i actually know the answer to this question!! i watched a video about it
when you yawn it cools your brain down. normally breathing though your mouth makes you yawn more then breathing through your nose. you dont yawn because your bored.
watch this vid.

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