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Why Do We Yawn?

What makes yawning so contagious?
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Written and created by Mitchell Moffit (twitter @mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (twitter @whalewatchmeplz).

Further Reading —

Yawning as a Brain Cooling Mechanism:
http://www.albany.edu/news/pdf_files/Yawning_Report_Gallup_May_2007.pdf

Chimpanzees and contagious yawning:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3534187/

Familiarity-connected or stress-based contagious yawning in domestic dogs:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23982621

Contagious yawning, social cognition, and arousal: an investigation of the processes underlying shelter dogs’ responses to human yawns:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23670215

The thermoregulatory theory of yawning:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23293583

Male yawning is more contagious than female yawning among chimpanzees:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22808234

Mirror neuron activity during contagious yawning–an fMRI study:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22772979

Thermoregulatory theory of yawning:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3534187/