Why is yawning so contagious?

Why is yawning so contagious

It is the end of the week and we are so tired due to lack of sleep hours that we see ourselves opening again and again our mouth during our friends dinner, in the cinema or even on the sofa while watching TV, but do you know why little scientist?

There are three theories to explain why we yawn, do you want to know them? Keep reading and find them out!

A yawn...

We are always trying to control every action of the human body, but, as yawns are involuntary actions, no one will ever be able to control them. According to specialists, that is a mechanism that the body uses to import oxygen so that our brain refresh and be able to be aware preventing us from falling asleep.

Conclusion: The best way to fight against sleep is yawning!

Is yawning actually so contagious?

 We all think so, don’t you little scientist?

 There are 3 theories which are trying to explain it: Physic, Evolution and Boredom.

  • Physic: specialists had defined the yawns like a process created by our organism with the purpose of easing the gases exchange, what means getting a higher quantity of oxygen and expel the carbon dioxide in excess.
  • Evolution: regarding to the evolution theory, yawns are one of our ancestors habit since they yawned show their teeth. If it was right, yawns would be useless but we cannot keep out of them.
  • Boredom: this theory defends that yawns are associated with drowsy and boring moments, what is the most known around the World.

The mirror-neuron is a cell which is the main responsible for this mechanism, whose principal function is registering our behaviour on different situations during the day. Consequently, when we see someone yawning, the neurons register that behaviour and trigger out an auto-reflection, which is impossible to control, forcing us to repeat what we have just seen (in this case the yawn).

Do empathy and affinity matter?

Do you think that if someone that you do not know yawned, you would also yawn?

Theoretically you would, but surely you will try to do everything in your hands to avoid it because you will not want to show empathy and affinity with that person. What about people who we have affinity with? It depends, but we normally yawn without be conscious we are doing it just seconds after that person.

So, what are your conclusion little scientist? Ours is that empathy and affinity matter!


  • Yawns last around 6 seconds.
  • A yawn can increase the heart beats up to 30%.
  • Around 55% of people end up yawning after seeing someone else or even an animal doing it.
  • Olympic athletes usually yawn before any competition. 

Did you know any of these facts about yawns? Or do you know some more facts about it? Tell us what you know little scientist!


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