So this would make contagious yawning the result of mirror neurons — the neurons that are active when we do something and when we see someone else do the same thing. This is sensible, since yawning is a pretty basic physical experience that we can easily undertake and observe. Yet there’s also a correlation between empathy and contagious yawning, which would further suggest that mirror neurons are connected to empathy as well.
Researchers recently found that yawning isn’t only catching among people; it is also among chimpanzees. [...] No one has devised a fully convincing explanation of why. Adding to the mystery is the odd way in which the contagious power of yawning is largely unconscious. We can see someone yawn, yearn to replicate the action ourselves, and do it, all without thinking about it. Other times we’re aware it is happening, though it still floats somewhere beneath the realm of reason and of purposeful actions.
In fact while I was writing this speech I found myself unable to stop yawning. In fact during my speech I have been counting how many of you yawned and found that ”number” of you