That Jaw-Dropping Yawn Is Contagious
Yawning is contagious. Scientists believe that it’s contagious because of synchronized group behavior, coinciding with particular times of the day with certain activities. It’s common between periods of sleeping and wakefulness, and some people are more susceptible to the contagious yawn than others. And even though it’s common and contagious, scientists know little about yawning. One theory is that “yawning is an indicator that one individual is experiencing diminished arousal, then seeing another person yawn might, in turn, increase the observer’s vigilance to compensate for the low vigilance of the yawner.” It’s also suggested that it’s a way for the body to get more oxygen-rich blood to the brain, but the neurology behind the process is lacking. It may be a form of social mirroring, where animals mimic the behavior of others, or a form of empathic relating, where we mimic others (Science).