You might just be going about your daily activities then you spot someone yawning and suddenly, you feel the urge to yawn too. Have you ever considered why this happens? Scientists describe it as an ancient autonomic response that is a part of our biological functions.
It can be triggered either when you are bored or sleepy and even the temperature could be a contributing factor to how it happens. Due to the mirror neurons that we have in our brains, we could simply do this because we saw someone else do It.
Some people who have mental issues like autism or schizophrenia do not exhibit the contagious yawning because their emotional responses do not trigger the way ours do. The contagious yawning is related to the feeling of empathy. It is more of a way to cue social compassion.
Some studies have also shown that we yawn when we are either trying to confront a situation or escape from it. Although, just like laughter, an infectious yawn might have developed as an evolutionary trait because it makes us feel good.
The action of opening our mouths wide and sucking in a big gulp of air relaxes the body and floods the brain with extra oxygen which is the reason why people think it happens. For some people, there might be a little stretch to go with it. But sometimes it is usually more than that.
A contagious yawn might occur in a group when you are preparing for a stressful event, or you are trying to signal to your peers that you are in a boring environment. And for some people, it might just be a reaction that everything is all right with them.
This is also why it happens that you laugh when someone else does so even when you do not know why they started laughing in the first instance.
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