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Contagious

May 27, 2016
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I stare down my small son when I yawn. Watching and waiting for the telltale signs. Signals that his yawn is coming. That he can’t control it. Nothing comes. 

I yawn quite often. Let’s face it, between my work and fairly consistent 6am workouts, I’m a tired mama. There’s some serious yawns being thrown down over here. And nothing in return.

Is he stoic, I wonder very briefly. Not likely. His arm grazed the table and he’s bursting into tears. It’s not just him, it turns out. 

Yawning is not always contagious. It’s learned socially. 

The ability to “catch” a yawn actually requires some sophisticated social skills.

There are interesting reports on it. In 2011, researchers at the University of Pisa reported that depth of relationship impacts whether or not a yawn will be contagious and how quickly the yawnee will respond. 

A scientist wondered if you could predict how someone felt about you by giving them, in essence, a yawn test, aka Sam’s Yawn Delay Predictor.” 

In a footnote at the back of his book, he wonders “if you could tell someone was falling out of love with you by timing their yawn delay.”

For me, I need to wait for my son to be a bit bigger. Ill be watching for those yawns. 

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