Why when we see someone yawning, is it often so hard not to do the same thing? Is it contagious? What causes yawning is still largely a mystery.
Psychologist Andrew Gallup launches the hypothesis that this habit may be a necessary mechanism for relaxing the brain. A 2016 study at New York State University found a link between yawning and brain size. The size of the brain may be related to the length of the yawn. Lower brain creatures, such as gorillas or other mammals, are yawning for a shorter time than humans.
But is this contagious? According to IFL Science, quoting a study by researchers at Nottingham University in England, contagious yawning is actually a form of automatic imitation of another person.
It has also been observed that people with more intense brain activity in the motor cortex tend to yawn more often, and it is more difficult for them to refrain from observing someone else’s yawning. In other words, “the desire to yawn increases when we try to abstain,” said study author Georgina Jackson, professor of cognitive neuropsychology at the University of Nottingham, England.
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