Why does someone else yawn after you do? i mean like if i yawn and my friend is next to me they usually yawn after that..and i know this is a stupid question..but it is confusing me right now.., Posts: 64 | From: Virginia, U.S.A | Registered: Jun 2002
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I've always wondered that, too.. In fact, we had a discussion about that in psychology class the other day, while we were talking about experiments involving placebos. (Basically, in those experiments, one group of people are given actual medicine, while the other group is given the placebo, which doesn't contain any type of medication at all- sometimes it's just a sugar pill. In some cases, people actually claim that their symptoms have lessened, when in actuality they're only on the placebo.. I think she referred to it as "mental persuasion"- making your symptoms appear to decrease by persuading yourself to believe that the "medicine" is working.) I'm not sure what the actual reason is (if there even is one), but one of my teachers said the reason yawns sometimes spread from person to person is because they're "mentally contagious." Basically, when you see someone else yawning, something in your mind triggers the urge to do it too.
But hey, there probably is some other reason that I haven't explored yet.
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I read an article about that one time. It basically said what Lucky posted, that it's just a mental response, not unlike the placebo experiment. I saw another theory about this too. They said that since darkness (i.e. nightime) causes a chemical release in our brains that makes us sleepy, seeing a yawn might have a similar effect. The first idea seems to be the generally accepted one though.
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Posts: 52 | From: Usually somewhere between MI & FL - currently KY | Registered: May 2001
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