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Why Do We Yawn?

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31 Aug The reason that yawning is contagious may lie in the area of the brain responsible for motor function, according to a new study in the journal Current Scientists refer to the urge to yawn when you see someone else doing it as contagious yawning. [25 Weird Things Humans Do Every Day, and Why]. 8 Jun Yawning is a sign of empathy. Catching yawns may be an unconscious sign that you're attuned to other people's emotions, in the same way you might automatically smile or frown at someone when they do the same to you. Researchers from the University of Connecticut backed up this theory in a small. 31 Aug Feeling tired? Even if we aren't tired, why do we yawn if someone else does? Experts have published research that suggests the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered automatically by primitive reflexes in the primary motor cortex -- an area of the brain responsible for motor function.

Why Is Yawning Contagious?

The study involved showing subjects photos of people yawning in order to get them to yawn. Hidden cameras observed the participants, while a machine tracked their eyes. The subjects were given 60 photos with four levels of yawning, differing in intensity.

The people had to judge whether the depicted person was yawning.

For the fish species, see Yawning fish. Archived from the original on 17 April Journal of Comparative Psychology.

To have a control comparison, they were also shown 60 happy and 60 angry photos and asked to remark if the people were angry or happy. Those who were more likely to detect yawning were also those who were more likely to start yawning.

Sensitivity to angry or happy faces did not seem to relate to contagious yawning in a meaningful way. To see if yawning is related to empathy, the participants were measured for their Autistic Quotient AQ via an autism-spectrum questionnaire.

This also showed little relation to yawning frequency.

Why Do We Yawn When Someone Else Yawns

Interestingly, female subjects had a higher susceptibility to being caught by the yawning contagion. Chia-huei Tseng, the lead researcher on the study and an associate professor at Tohoku University, explained that recent clinical observations showed how individuals with autism or schizophrenia did not yawn like typical people.

This led some to link the lack of empathy to being unaffected by contagious yawning and prompted their investigation. This is a possible explanation for their lack of contagious yawning. What causes yawning is still largely a mystery, with psychologist Andrew Gallup proposing it may be needed to cool the brain. Brain size may be linked to yawn length.

Why is yawning contagious?

Creatures with smaller brains, like gorillas and elephants, yawn for a shorter time than humans. You can check out the new study right here. Big Think Edge helps organizations by catalyzing conversation around the topics most critical to 21st century business success. Scientists reveal how much money it takes to be truly happy by Brandon A. Videos [25] Articles [6]. Author 'American Born Chinese'.

Why Do We Yawn When Someone Else Yawns

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Dogs are very adept at reading human communication actions, so it is unclear if this phenomenon is rooted in evolutionary history or a result of domestication. What an odd test. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Contagious yawning is one means of evaluating such disorders. More research is needed, but the study authors speculate that people may generally become less susceptible to contagious yawning as they age, possibly because they pay less attention to the behavior in others.

September 9, by Paul Ratner. Everything you should know about happiness in one infographic.

Why Do We Yawn?

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