Yawning is a strange thing. It's a reflex that adults do 20 times a day, and it's nearly impossible to resist its urge. Although there are no proven reasons for why yawning is contagious, some scientists believe it's because humans have empathy. Seeing a picture of someone yawning could make you yawn too.
This time, we will explain the reason why yawning is contagious.
It's natural to yawn. Yawning is done by animals, too. But before you suppress it, you should know that yawning can be beneficial. The most scientifically supported theory of why people yawn is the brain temperature regulation theory.
Causes of yawning
When you yawn:
• You are tired because your brain has slowed down
• You are bored or uninterested because you are not stimulated and your brain is slowing down
• You see someone else yawn, you are in the same environment so you are also exposed to the same temperature
Yawning is a way for the body to wake up by itself. It stretches the lungs and also flexes muscles and joints. It also causes blood to circulate to your face and brain, increasing alertness.
Why Yawning Is Contagious?
There's a theory that yawning is contagious. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of empathy are more likely to catch a yawn from someone who yawns, as opposed to those with lower levels of empathy or those with mental disorders.
A new study by Assistant Clinical Professor at Texas A&M School of Medicine, Dan Williamson, have revealed that yawning is caused by many factors. Some believe that it's a way of communicating or it's a result of empathy. More or less, these findings reveal that there are several different reasons for yawning.
Contagious yawning may not be associated with empathy. Researchers from Duke Centre for Human Genome Variation found that contagious yawning lessens with age and has more to do with a person's genetics. The long-term goal? To identify the genetic components of contagious yawning and better understand diseases such as autism and schizophrenia.
Ultimately, the mystery of contagious yawning is still a mystery to scientists. Many theories exist as to why we yawn. But one thing is sure, you yawned at least once while reading this article, right?
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