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Old 08-16-2000, 02:01 AM
geekgurl geekgurl is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 23
Why is a yawn contagious?

I am more likely to yawn when I get up in the morning or am feeling tired or bored, but why do I immediately yawn if I see another person yawn, or even think about yawning? ((yawn))

It seems as if when I yawn, the whole room yawns with me!
Old 08-16-2000, 02:06 AM
geekgurl geekgurl is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 23
....and if you don't believe me, ask yourself if you've yawned at least once during this message! And if you haven't, thank-you for being so interested!
Old 08-16-2000, 02:09 AM
Kilgore Trout Kilgore Trout is offline
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Location: toronto
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Old 08-16-2000, 02:24 AM
lee lee is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cook County, IL
Posts: 4,682
Yawning is contagious as evinced by the several times I have yawned while reading this thread. Last time i did any research on this topic, no one knew why, but all agreed even reading about them was enough to induce them.
If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question.

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Old 08-16-2000, 04:47 AM
matt matt is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: A Brit in 'Stralia
Posts: 1,964
I heard the theory somewhere (maybe a Desmond Morris book?) that it is a social signal based on our primate ancestry. Chimpanzee groups have a dominance order based on violence and social aliances - lower status individuals are constantly attempting to depose those above them. This makes it hard for anyone to get any sleep - who knows what will happen behind your back? In particular, the alpha male doesn't want the rest of the males using his harem while he's sleeping.

The solution is for the group to all sleep at the same time. The contagious yawn is a signal to all the group to call a truce so they can all get some sleep.

It sounds reasonable, but I'd like to read some proper studies before I accept it.
Old 08-16-2000, 05:20 AM
GaWd GaWd is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: San Jose, Ca
Posts: 3,675
I yawned just reading your post geek...



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