Curious? Ask Chris: Why is it when you see someone yawn, you yaw - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Curious? Ask Chris: Why is it when you see someone yawn, you yawn?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --It's midday at 4th Street Live! You've eaten lunch and that afternoon "case of the groggies" is already setting in.
There are yawns from this side of the street, and that side. If you happen to be looking, you might start doing it yourself.

"There's always people around me yawing because I'm yawing all day long," said

That leads to this question from Susan: "Why is it that when you see someone yawn, you have to yawn too?"

"Because it's contagious," one person guessed.

Believe it or not, there are theories and scientific explanations behind this part of every day life.

Dr. Mohamed Saad is a Sleep Specialist with University of Louisville Physicians. He treats and studies everything from sleep apnea to snoring, and all of the other issues in between.

Dr. Saad says recent studies suggest you yawn when you see others doing it because of empathy.

"It's unconscious. I mean, you're not doing it attentively. You're just trying to sympathize," Saad explained.

You're apparently more likely to yawn around a close friend or family member who's doing the same thing. That's because of the emotional or genetic links you and the yawner share.

Even dogs have a tendency to yawn if they see their masters doing it.

"It's all of our social communication," Dr. Saad explained.

Another theory suggests when you hear or read about yawning, it will also make you yawn. Sorry about that.

The question is something you've probably wondered about at some point in your life, and now you can say you know.

Thanks for the question, Susan.

If you have a question you want Chris Sutter to answer, here's how to get in touch:
Email: csutter@wdrb.com
Twitter: @chrissutter
Facebook: Search for Chris Sutter

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