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Yawning is more contagious for the young, study says

Yawning Is More Contagious For The Young, Study Says
Yawning. We all do it and yet there's no set explanation on why we do it. And just as mysterious is that the act of yawning seems to be contagious. A new study looking at that issue has found that age might be a factor.

The study, one of the largest ever to focus on contagious yawning, was published online at PLOS ONE. It found that young people are more apt to "catch" a yawn than older people.

328 participants were asked to watch a three-minute video of people yawning and to keep track of how many times they yawned. Of the 328 participants, 222 contagiously yawned.

While past research has linked empathy, time of day, and intelligence to yawning, the Duke University researchers found no such links.

USA Today spoke with one researcher not involved in the study who has found that "contagious yawning is most common among family members, followed by friends, acquaintances, then strangers."

But what benefits could there possibly be from studying yawning?

Referring to autism and schizophrenia, a press release for the EurekAlert study said "A deeper understanding of contagious yawning could lead to insights on these diseases and the general biological functioning of humans."

As to why we actually yawn? Well, various theories exist, but one of the most widely held says yawning cools the brain.

Check out the 'Yawn-O-Meter' and see how long you can last:

Join the discussion

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Grace April 05 2014 at 10:09 AM


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avalcukas March 18 2014 at 10:23 AM

Take deep breaths.

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rhphotos April 05 2014 at 2:56 PM

mde it without yawning thru the whole video

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peggie mattutat April 05 2014 at 4:12 PM

made no yawn and i yawn all the time

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E April 05 2014 at 4:16 PM

i yawned 3 times just reading this article

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joyful1938 April 05 2014 at 5:33 PM

27 seconds.

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howardbronx7 April 05 2014 at 6:04 PM

I made to number 25. I think I'll take a nap!

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Fred April 05 2014 at 9:19 PM

North Korea is about to set off a nuclear explosion and we sit here watching people yawn? We're a strange bunch.

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