Interesting Scientific Details About Yawning

Scientific Facts Yawning

Science has come a long way in explaining different facts and phenomenon that we encounter in our daily lives. But no matter how rich we are in terms of scientific knowledge, there are still some things that cannot be fully explained by science. And one such mystery is the act of yawning.

Why do we yawn? Why the mere mention of the word forces us to perform such weird behavior? And why oscitation (the scientific term for yawning) is contagious?

Get to know more about these things as we are going to discuss some interesting scientific details about yawning.

Yawning In Babies

Baby yawning

Experts have already established the fact that babies do yawn as early as 11 months old. And the reason for this is that yawning is thought to be a part of the brain’s development. So even though yawning is contagious, infants are found to yawn without being influenced by others. But what compels us from doing this at a very early age is still a mystery to science.

However, some research also indicates that babies can be already be influenced by others to yawn when they reach the age of 1 to 2 years.

It’s Not Just About Being Bored Or Tired

More often than not, yawning is often associated with being bored or tired. After all, we tend to do this action whenever we experience feelings of weariness or exhaustion.

But this is not always the case since some interesting scientific details through research have already proven that yawning is a “primitive reflex” brought about by our brain’s primary motor cortex, the part that is responsible for our body’s motor function.

A Very Complicated Behavior To Understand

Yawning is involuntary. We can’t tell when to yawn, we simply do it. Yet, scientists have also established that contagious yawning is the cause of any of these 3 scientific theories:

  • Fixed Action Pattern – We yawn when others do it because of a reflex action is triggered in our brain.
  • Chameleon Effect – This copycat maneuver has something to do with non-conscious mimicry. In other words, we tend to yawn when others yawn because we unintentionally manifest a kind of connection to that person who performed the act of yawning first. So in a sense, this is a basis for that belief that you like the person who yawned because you did the same as well.
  • Empathy Yawn – This is another attempt to explain contagious yawning since scientists have discovered that the human body involuntary reacts to what the other person is doing due to the mirror neurons that we have. And as a result, we “empathize” to the other person at a much deeper level.

Fun Fact: Contagious yawning is not only limited to humans because most vertebrate animals are found to be affected by this phenomenon too!

A Way To Detect If Someone Is Looking At You (Or Attracted To You)

Yawniing Sign of Attraction

And finally on our list of the interesting scientific details about yawning is the possibility of using yawn as a way to detect if someone is looking at you.

According to psychologists, one effective way of knowing if someone is looking at you or if someone is into you is by yawning. If the person you’re suspecting will do the same, then it’s highly plausible that he or she is really looking at you.

Likewise, it’s also an indication that this person is attracted to you. So if you think that someone has a crush on you, all you need to do is yawn.

Hope you enjoyed these facts! Want more science bits? You can check out We Want Science’s experiments and news and try them out for a more fun time!