Yes, yawning actually *is* contagious

It's Monday morning in French class—you're absolutely exhausted and soon enough, you let out a *huge* yawn. Ah, much better. But then suddenly everyone else is yawning, too! What gives?

You've probably heard your mom or older sis say that yawning is contagious...and it turns out they might be onto something. No, it's not like the flu or an icky virus, but it can catch on.  And it's all because of the way our brains are wired.

How it works: Humans have a natural tendency to imitate those around us due to reactions that occur in our prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that controls movement). Dogs and chimps do it, too. And while scientists are still pretty baffled about those big breaths (do you do it because you're deprived of oxygen? or is it to regulate your brain's temperature?), they do know that "contagious yawning" is a thing.

What do you think about this info? Did you make it through this post without yawning? Tell us below!

by Amanda Tarlton | 9/9/2017
jump to comments