Posted: 15 January, 2016
Yawning Really Is Contagious And Here’s The Scientific Proof
Are you yawning right now?
Why is it that when we see someone yawn we automatically feel like yawning in response?
Well science has the answer.
According to neurologist Eliezer J. Sternberg, “Scientists theorize that when we watch someone yawn, mirror neurons simulate the action in our minds. Those simulations can change our behaviour.”
If you think really hard about yawning right now you’ll probably be able to make yourself physically yawn.
But we don’t always respond to every yawn. For example you don’t necessarily start yawning just because a character in a TV show is getting sleepy. But there is a reason for that.
An Italian study looked at 21 baboons living in a zoo, and tracked how often they yawned over four months and compared it to their other interactions. They found that contagious yawning connected most with the time the baboons spent grooming one another.
“The more they groom, the closer they feel. The closer they feel, the more infectious their yawns become,” Sternberg summarised.
So being emotionally close to someone increases the chances of setting off a contagious yawn!
Now we challenge you to watch this video of strangers yawning. Does it set you off? I've already yawned twelve times while writing this article!