How contagious is your yawn ?

We all know yawning is contagious, but can we measure how contagious is it? or can we somehow engineer a yawn to become perfectly contagious? According to this interesting NPR story, Robert Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, try to design a 100% contagious yawn.

"A number of studies found that a medley of ordinary yawns on video played to a classroom for five minutes would induce a responsive yawn in 55% of the audience. So that was his starting point: could he design a yawn powerful enough to move from a 55% response right up to Total Yawn-ness?".

The results? no matter what the Prof. Provine tried, he could not make a yawn with more 55% response rate.


John said...

I heard this on NPR on Monday evening. It was on that drive home after no sleep the night before. I couldn't figure out if it was the story or the lack of sleep that had me yawning.

And how bad is it when your prof is TRYING to make you yawn in class? Big lunch, afternoon class, and recorded yawns...I'm toast!

Bilbo said...

Professor Provine has obviously never had the opportunity to attend one of my office's staff meetings. I can guarantee him a 99.999% yawn response rate.

Amanda said...

Interesting. A couple of weeks ago, I tried yawning in front of my son to see if he'd yawn. Nothing ever happens. I guess he belongs to the 45%.