Why yawning is contagious (an in-depth study)

Okay so I was kidding about the “in-depth study” part. But I did do a little bit of research into the matter, because the phenomenon of a yawn spreading from one person to another has always fascinated me. Regardless of how much Red Bull I drank that day, if you yawn in front of me, I’ll yawn back. But why?

One study (from Discovery News, so you know it’s legit) suggests that yawning when others yawn is “a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding.” Seriously? Yawns are contagious because of some primitive brain-stem function that dates back to our creation? We yawn back because our subconscious wants to feel accepted? Definitely false. Sorry, Discovery News.

Another article (from BBC News, so again legit) describes a yawn as being a process designed to cool down the brain and help one stay awake. Therefore, the reason why we yawn when we see others yawn is because “we are participating in an ancient, hardwired ritual that evolved to help groups stay alert and detect danger.” So let me get this straight. A guard is keeping watch, to protect the inhabitants of a camp site from getting attacked by wild boars. This guard stays awake all night. At around four in the morning, he starts feeling sleepy, so to “cool his brain down,” he yawns. A camper in the tent hears this yawn and also starts yawning. The person in the tent with him also yawns. Before you know it, everyone in the camp is just yawning at each other. So now they’re all awake and alert and can fight the rabid, hungry, wild boars? Something is missing in this story.

Further research only led me to dead-ends. One site claimed that contagious yawning was purely psychological, another suggested that it had something to do with neurons (I didn’t really read that one, it was boring), and yet another stated a bunch of statistics, but never really got to a resolved reason as to why.

So naturally, I came up with my own theory: demon communication. No wait, just hear it out, okay? We all have our little inner demons, right? And we all keep shit bottled up and blah blah, and all this negative bad stuff is usually pushed back into the subconscious, right? And our subconscious usually becomes active while we sleep. And we yawn to stay awake, as in, we’re tired and we’re probs about to go to sleep, right? Still with me? Therefore, when we yawn, we let some of those demons from our tired subconscious escape. And when other people see us yawn, their demons also want to come out. Hence, contagious yawning.

And that also explains why there’s evil demons floating around my house. Particularly in my closet. Bart and I yawn a lot.

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4 Responses to “Why yawning is contagious (an in-depth study)”

  1. Aaisha Says:

    Your theory is the most accurate one out there.

  2. Tene Says:

    Oh my gosh the pictures are mad cute. I stole one for my desktop picture haha

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