Is Yawning Contagious? Essay by KatiaK

Is Yawning Contagious?
An exploration of whether and why yawning is contagious.
# 111159 | 1,413 words | 12 sources | APA | 2005 | CA
Published on Jan 12, 2009 in Psychology (Physiological)

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In this paper, the writer offers a dictionary definition of a yawn and relates that according to Medline Plus, normal yawning is induced when the brain or the lungs are not receiving enough oxygen. The writer then looks at the position of Dr. Jerry Yee who contends that yawning cannot be contagious since yawning is psychological. The writer considers David Gray's hypothesis on why yawning appears to be contagious and then refers to Dr. Robert Provine on what yawning is and why it is contagious. The writer is personally inclined to side with Dr. Robert and David Gray in that yawning is most certainly contagious and responsive to suggestion.

From the Paper:

"It is 7 o'clock at night and I have just sat down to write this paper which will explain why yawning is contagious. Normally I am wide awake at this time of the night, with still a good five to six hours left before I head off to sleep for the night. But as I sit here contemplating the topic of this paper, and reading the title, over and over again, I find myself unable to do anything but yawn. In fact, in the process of writing the three prior sentences I yawned eight times, and yet another time just now! I have not had an overly strenuous day, I have eaten well, and I had a full nights rest last night, so really I have no logical reason to be tired, and in fact, other than the yawning, I do not particularly feel tired (oh - there's another yawn - a big one!). Everyone has had the frustrating and annoying experience (yawn) of 'catching' someone else's yawn. Somehow by simply witnessing another person yawn we feel compelled, and in fact are helpless to prevent ourselves from yawning."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bradley's Almanac. (2003). Bradley's Almanac: The Mystery of Yawning.
  • Colman, A.M. (2004). The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David Gray. (2002). Why do we yawn when others do?
  • Kidsworld. (2004). Why We Yawn.
  • Kruszelnicki, K. (2003). Dr. Karl's Homework - Yawning Is Contagious.

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

Is Yawning Contagious? (2009, January 12) Retrieved December 03, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Is Yawning Contagious?" 12 January 2009. Web. 03 December. 2021. <>