It’s commonly assumed that yawning is “contagious,” but do you know why?
Even though modern science is still having trouble figuring out what exactly yawning is, studies have shown that it’s at least a convenient way to measure empathy. If seeing someone yawn makes you feel like yawning, congratulations! You’ve got heart, kid.
Conversely, if someone yawns and all you do is merely wait for them to stop so you can keep talking, you’re what Richard Wiseman of Night School UK calls an “emotional island.” You know, a serial killer.
Just kidding (not really though).
“When you see the word yawn, or look at photos of people mid-yawn, or watch film of actual yawns, you will start to feel like yawning,” Wiseman says. “Also, the more you’re affected by the images, the more empathic you are.”
This episode of the YouTube series “Night School in 59 Seconds” has gone semi-viral this Friday morning with over 100,000 views and nearly 2,000 “thumbs.” If it’s a slow day around the office, we suggest passing this around so you can find out which of your co-workers are empathetic and which of them are
serial killers not so attuned to human emotion.
I only yawned four times while writing this article.