Posted by: E (The Third Glance) | January 22, 2012

Contagious Yawns

I was having a discussion today with some people about contagious yawns. I didn’t know that yawns were contagious until high school when I read about it in a book. I’ve never caught a yawn from someone, and the whole concept is rather mindboggling. I’ve always wondered – do other Autistic people (or others) have the same reaction that I do? Do you personally “catch” yawns? When did you first learn about the concept of contagious yawns?

p.s. sorry for the short post, more will come soon. I’ve had a really bad week health-wise (This evening went something like “oh yay, I’m feeling better! Oh crap, I have a 101 degree fever. Why body, why?”), but things are starting to get a little better (hopefully), so expect a substantial post sometime soonish, once I’ve caught up on everything I haven’t been able to do this past week. But I’m REALLY curious about this whole yawn thing… please discuss in the comments. 🙂


  1. I do “catch!” yawns… but I recently read that htere is a certain species of tortoise that does not….

  2. Yes, I remember that in 2nd grade my teacher made a big yawn in the front of the classroom, then paused. She continued after the long pause with the assertation that those of us who had ‘caught’ her yawn were thought to be the most empathetic. (I can’t remember the subject matter we were learning about.) I was one who yawns when I see others. I yawn when I see the word, or think about yawns. I’ve wondered the same thing, if others with AS do this?

  3. I do not “catch” yawns in person, but must have yawned a half a dozen times from reading about catching yawns.

  4. I yawned several times while I read this 🙂

    Contagious yawns is an interesting topic… I’ve heard it plays a role for synchronising sleep patterns in social animals.

    It seems to be one of the ‘universal’ body language signals that works across very different species of animals. I have seen dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats, and budgies catch yawns from people… And wild* Lorikeets on our balcony.

    *Well… Lorikeets in Sydney are sorts of semi-wild.

  5. Come on, it’s not *that* boring of a post! 🙂

    • 😉

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