Warning: Reading the rest of this page might cause you to yawn.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the only thing it takes to start yawning is seeing someone else do it? Why are yawns so catchy??
Scientists and researchers don’t have one single answer about why yawning is so catchy, but we do know that it definitely is! In fact, 40-60% of people are apt to yawn after seeing, hearing, or thinking about someone else who yawns!
One idea about why yawns are so catchy is that yawns were once used as a form of communication. A yawn was a signal that members of a group passed between each other! Today, our tendency to pass yawns is a remainder of an ancient instinct!
Various studies have also supported that contagious yawning might also be linked to humans’ ability to feel empathy (an understanding of the feelings of another person or creature) or their ability to be self-aware. This is further supported by the fact that young babies and most other animals who yawn do not “catch” yawns like older people and more developed animals (like chimpanzees), who have the capacity for empathy and self-awareness!