Researchers at Nottingham University Study The Science Behind Contagious Yawning

When we watch another person yawn, contagious yawning is triggered automatically.

Contagious Yawning, Nottingham University Research, Yawning and Primitive Reflexes, echophenomena

With Bakri Eid and Sunday coming back to back, it sure is a super lazy weekend. And what better way to tackle all the laziness from the Biryani, than facing it like brave people? So, here I am, trying to face the laziness that follows a sleepless night, with this interesting article.

Have you ever wondered if you are the only lazy bum who yawns every time you see someone else yawn?

Like me, if you have, you aren’t alone!

According to a study conducted in UK’s Nottingham University, yawning can be contagious and contagious yawning is a very normal human tendency.

Experts at the Nottingham University have published a research paper which suggests that the human tendency of contagious yawning is automatically triggered by our primitive reflexes. So, the next time you can’t control your yawn, blame your reflexes!

The latest findings of this study reveal that our ability to resist yawning when someone near us yawns is limited and every time we resist yawning, the urge to yawn increases.

Wow, I am actually yawning while writing about it!

Another important thing the researchers have discovered is that the urge to yawn is specific to each one of us.

Talking about the findings, Professor Stephen Jackson said, "We suggest that these findings may be particularly important in understanding further the association between motor excitability and the occurrence of echophenomena in a wide range of clinical conditions that have been linked to increased cortical excitability and/or decreased physiological inhibition such as epilepsy, dementia, autism, and Tourette's syndrome."

 source: psu

When we watch another person yawn, contagious yawning is triggered automatically. It is a very common form of Echophenomena- the automatic imitation of someone’s words or actions.

Interesting fact: People with empathy disorders such as autism yawn less when they see others yawning and it seems that psychopaths are immune to contagious yawns.

Have you yawned yet??

source: pikspost

Well, there’s more to it, if you thought that humans are the only ones affected by this, you are mistaken; chimpanzees and dogs too face contagious yawning.

For this research, they hired 36 adults, who were shown video clips of someone else yawning and were instructed to either resist yawning or allow themselves to yawn. This was recorded to observe the yawning pattern and to count the number of times a participant yawned. They were also able to increase the urge to yawn, using electrical stimulation.

 source: ygoy

The study co-leader Professor Georgina Jackson said. "This research has shown that the urge is increased by trying to stop yourself."

"In Tourette's, if we could reduce the excitability we might reduce the tics, and that's what we are working on," she added in a Nottingham news release.

The findings were published Aug. 31 in the journal Current Biology.

So, how many times did you yawn while going through this article??

Title image: youtube, ozblog

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Manali Kulkarni (WRITER)

Manali Kulkarni writes for Reacho. If you wish to get in touch with them, drop in a mail at