If you yawn when seeing someone else yawn, or by looking at a picture, or even seeing or hearing the word ‘Yawn’ then you are among 60-70% of the people who do the same!

Contagious yawing is a universal phenomenon. Most people tend to follow the lead when they see someone else yawing. As a matter of fact, this phenomenon isn’t only limited to us humans. Many animals are prone to contagious yawning as well including hippos, dogs, snakes, chimpanzees and sharks. However, reasons surrounding this is still much engulfed by ongoing researches. So do download the Tonic app and subscribe to keep an eye on Tonic’s Health Channels for more exciting updates. So let’s take a look into the most popular theories as to why yawning is contagious.

Correlation to Empathy

It is said that the more you can relate to others feelings and comprehend them, the more you’re prone to yawning when seeing someone else. This means that the more emotionally intelligent you are, the more you are going to be yawning.


Some studies say that the younger you are the more you’re susceptible to contagious yawning. In other words, the older you get the less it will affect you when you see or hear another person yawning. That explains why we see toddlers, or young children yawn much more than we see the elderly.


Even though it might not be in all cases, but sometimes people just yawn if they are bored or tired. This is called simultaneous yawning which can still make someone else yawn even though they might not be either. So next time you get into trouble for yawning in the office or social gatherings, you’ll have a sound explanation.

Contagious yawning is still very much a mystery to scientists as they haven’t reached a solid conclusion as to why this phenomenon happens. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting occurrence that binds us all together. So how many times have you yawned while reading this? 

Written by