Topics: Scientific method, Sleep, Empathy / Pages: 2 (328 words) / Published: Feb 25th, 2013
Did you know that a foetus from as young an age as 11 weeks can yawn. Ever heard of contagious yawning? 55% of people who witness someone yawn will yawn within five minutes. If a visually impaired person hears a tape of someone yawning, he or she is likely to yawn as well. It may not be one of life’s deepest mysteries, but as scientific conundrums go, it has a peculiar staying power. Why is yawning contagious? this has always bothered me so I decided to write a speech on it. Scientist have looked at the reasoning behind it for years and to be honest they’re still not actually sure why yawns are so contagious. Now they have come up with a number of solutions the one I have my money on is the ‘mirror neuron’ theory
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

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