Why is yawning contagious?
Why do we yawn - even if we are not tired - when someone next to us yawns? Sometimes we just need to think of a yawn for it to start growing within us. Yawn, yawn, yawn...do you yawn? Research has also shown that catching an urge to yawn can happen just by reading the word. Experts at Nottingham University have published research suggesting that the yawning contagion is due to primitive reflexes in our prefrontal cortex - an area of the brain responsible for motor function.
Now as I sit and write this article, I am obviously yawning over and over again. I am in a cafe spreading yawns all around me. 😆 The poor guy sitting next to me here has a limited ability to resist my yawns. How good one is at resisting the temptation varies from person to person, and it also depends on the relationships we have with each other.
Clearer thoughts but questionable looks
A yawn lasts on average for six seconds, and men's yawns are longer than women's. Yawning increases the heart rate and blood flow by up to 30%. At the same time, the brain is cooled down. As a result, we can think better and focus better on what we do. So, it might not be so bad that yawning is contagious, even if it's not a pretty look. 😫
But it is no idea to fight, because according to Georgina Jackson, a professor of cognitive neuropsychology at the Institute of Mental Health, the "desire" to yawn grows when trying to stifle a yawn. On the other hand, contagion is greatest among friends. At HuffPost Science, they write that research has shown that the closer you are to someone - genetically or emotionally - the greater the risk of being infected by their yawning.
But it is not just people who are affected by contagious yawning. Dogs that are very close to their owners are also affected - because of the emotional and social community. However, it can take up to five minutes for dogs, and humans, in our vicinity to be infected.
Are you a big-mouthed or handsome yawn?
Why some yawn loud and demonstrative, and others more cautious, we simply do not know. Maybe it has to do with the fact that certain people put on ‘tapes’, and then there are others who do not care to hold it once again! Some yawn so intensely that tears are shed, because the muscles in the face tighten so hard. This, in turn, causes the lacrimal glands that produce tears to be compressed, and out come the tears.
There are still some question marks about yawning out there and sometimes it may be that you simply need to take a nap. You can also try to get involved in something interesting if you want to end the yawning, because we yawn more when we are bored. The next time your friend or partner starts yawning, you can do your own experiment and consciously distance yourself emotionally from the event. Pretend that you do not know the person, and whatever you do, do not try to stifle that yawning that will naturally creep, because then it is a foregone result.