Yawning is the wide opening of mouth for extra inhalation while stretching body. It is an involuntary action.
Have you ever felt like yawning when you see someone yawning? I have felt that way. Whenever I see someone yawning the sensation to yawn builds up in me. Infact I feel like yawning just writing this, just kidding though.
So what is this phenomena behind these issues? It’s called “contagious yawning” About half of adults yawn after someone else yawns beside them due to this universal phenomenon.
However, little research has been done to elucidate the neuronal representation of this phenomenon. The study showed that the human mirror neuron system (MNS) is activated by visually perceived yawning.
There isn't any concrete reason as to why yawning is contagious but I've been able to find out some of the reasons.
1. Yawning could be way of getting more oxygen to the brain. However this theory has been proved wrong because neither giving more oxygen, nor decreasing the carbon dioxide concentration seemed to decrease yawning.
2. Yawning could be way of cooling down brain. This fact has been supported by research, and seems the most fit.
3. Yawning is a form of alert signal and thus is contagious. Yawning has been shown to be a form of alert signal that is picked up in human to remind themselves of being alert to an upcoming danger.
Obviously the danger here could be trivial, but this seems appropriate because we seem to pick up yawning from the known faces quite quickly than the unfamiliar faces. So it's supposed to keep us together.
4. It could also be just a way to show that the brain needs sleep, and that it’s time to take a rest.
5. This contagious yawning helps us survive through the lectures, and find a person who's just as bored as us.
6. Also it's a psychological fact that if while you're in a conversation, the person you're talking to, yawns at your yawn then it shows that he or she was actually listening to you keenly.
These are some of the reasons we yarn at other people's yarw. I think I've able to made some points here. Feel free to add your own point, or any contrary opinion.
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