Yes, Yawning Is Contagious! We Tell You Why
Yawning is common. Though generally known to be caused due to exhaustion, stress, sleepiness, or even boredom, you may also end up yawning when other people in the room are doing so. Know why it is contagious.
Learn why yawning is contagious
- Exhaustion, stress, sleepiness, or even boredom can induce yawning
- It is a cross-species phenomenon
- When we try to resist yawning, our tendency to yawn becomes even higher
And no, we’re not alone, it being a cross-species phenomenon, yawn-contagion is also found in many animals including chimpanzees, cats and dogs. But, why exactly does it happen?
1. Primitive Brian function
Scientific findings suggest that the primitive reflexes in the primary motor cortex may be the cause behind the phenomenon. This area of the brain is responsible for motor function and is connected to a network of brain regions that are associated with the feelings of empathy and the way we behave in social groups.
"Automatic imitative actions without explicit awareness" is how Wikipedia defines echo-phenomenon. But in very basic terms, it simply points to the fact that we as humans tend to copy activities that we see, hear or even think about. And yawning is no different of a story.
“Man is a social animal” they say, and rightly so.
We actually do tend to recognise, feel, and share the feelings of our fellow mates, and when it comes to yawning, we are just being are normal selves, simply feeling empathetic about the people around us.
4. Resistance is futile
When we see people around us yawning, we are tempted to yawn ourselves but we try to stifle the yawn (well evidently, nobody wants to be a copy-cat), but it has been observed in scientific findings and research that when we try to resist yawning, our tendency to yawn becomes even higher, making us even more helpless.
It is human-psychology that when a lot of people are doing something, it doesn’t seem strange or odd to anyone.
Similarly, when you see other people around you yawning, it occurs to you as a common, harmless thing to do, thus, tempting you do stretch those facial muscles as well.