Contagious Yawning – The Mystery Revealed!
Everyone yawns for sure, but don’t be insulted the next time your friend yawns at your face and makes you yawn right back. This is termed as contagious yawning and the fact is that this is very common. However, do you know why this happens? No, none of us might have actually thought about it. Therefore, here is a research study on contagious yawning. The researchers say that it is a sign of empathy and not boredom. Another interesting fact is that people yawn more frequently with close friends and family members, than with strangers. So, read onto know more about contagious yawning.
“Aw” in Yawning – The Secret Behind!
If you have noticed a yawn, it sounds rather like “aw.” Scientists have discovered that this “aw” occurs in response to the yawns of the people they care about most! This so-called contagious yawning is a psychological effect, which happens in response to reading, hearing, seeing, or even yawning. This shows that your heart can synchronize with a loved one, when you yawn. The best thing is that it is also a form of empathizing with people, who experience a feeling when they yawn like anxiety, stress, fatigue, or boredom. It even spontaneously cools your brain. So, the next time you yawn, remember the physiological changes occurring in your body.
The Stronger the Bond, the More You Yawn!
Norscia and co-author Elisabetta Palagi from the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies in Rome have spent a year by collecting data about the behavioral pattern from more than a 100 nationalities and adults. The observations were made at a variety of different natural settings such as on the train and around the dinner table. They concluded that yawning occurred among closed ones. They proved that the stronger the bond, the more you yawn.
Contagious Yawning and Empathy
Recent studies have shown that empathy is an important part of the cognitive development. The psychologists at Leeds University in England have studied about contagious yawning and empathy. In their study, they have taken 40 psychology students and 40 engineering students. Each student was put in a room with an undercover assistant who yawned many times. The students were given an emotional quotient test, where they were shown 40 images of eyes to know what each emotion they displayed.
The results of this test revealed that contagious yawning is directly related to empathy. The psychology students whose profession needs more focus, yawned more and their score was 28 out of 40 for the emotional test. Whereas, engineering students yawned less and scored 25.5 out of 40 for the EQ test. Strangely, women are considered more emotional, but they did not score more than men did. Now, when you see the neurology part, contagious yawning is related to some parts of the brain, which deals with empathy. So, this is how contagious yawning and empathy are related.
Small Yawning Homework
So, the next time you are in a group or meeting, try this small homeworkTake a big yawn, make sure you cover your mouth (manners) and then see how many people would follow the suit.
This would give you a chance to set a chain of deep breaths and widely open mouths in the “aw” pattern. Now, after reading this article, you might yawn at least once. Do not misunderstand, coz I am not intending to bore you, but reading about yawning will make you do it, just as hearing or seeing someone else yawn makes us do it! So, happy yawning…. 😀