How many people completely enjoy a movie when they see it? They feel the emotions as if they were the ones living them, they get angry, cry and even die of laughter. There are also cases when you go down the street and some stranger smiles at you and automatically you will get a smile as response. Well, a similar reaction happens when we see someone yawn, so, we’ll explain the strange reasons why yawning is contagious.
The responsible for this behavior are a kind or neurons called reflex or mirror neurons, that start working long before we can even speak, a baby at 6 months is able to recognize an expression of anger or joy and can detect when a face has no expression. These cells are related to empathic, imitative and social behaviors, their job is to imitate what we are observing, they were discovered in the 80s when a group of Italian scientists studied the motor control of a group of monkeys.
Explaining why yawning is contagious
On one occasion one of the researchers who worked with the monkeys felt hungry and took a nut in his mouth and at that precise moment they detected brain activity in the same area of the monkey that was activated when it was the monkey that ate the nut. At first it was thought that was a mistake, but repeating the experiment several times found that this neuronal activity was activated when they ate the nut in the same way as when they saw someone else eating it. The most impressive thing is that these mirror neurons just by imagining or listening to the breaking nut sound were also activated, then it was discovered that these neurons are also present in humans.
These neurons are located in the pre-frontal part of the brain. As social human beings we can understand how another person feels because of this neuron, for example, when we see someone crying, we can also feel their pain to the point of crying too, only psychopaths do not have this capacity because they lack this function, and this is what we called the broken mirror syndrome. This neuron also helps us to infer a person’s behavior, for example, by seeing someone bending down and extending their arms, we infer that the person is going to pick something up.
The origins of mirror neurons.
The behavior of people with the condition of autism may be linked to problems in reflex neurons what makes them unable to be empathetic. Some people think that this special characteristic that produce these neurons are primitive mechanisms of the human being telepathic communication, which allows us to transmit psychic content between individuals without the use of physical intermediaries, these mirror neurons are those that allow us to experience all around us like enjoying reading a good book.
So why yawning is contagious? although it seems very odd, to yawn just by thinking about it or seeing someone doing it, you now know that everything is programmed in our brains and as if it were a telepathic connection it automatically activates, to make us play what we’re seeing but is especially intense in yawning, this is still under investigation, but what we can say is that there is no way to avoid it and is highly contagious, questions about this particular behavior continue and we will continue analyzing its origins.
If this hasn’t happened to you, that you yawn when you see someone else yawning, do the exercise of thinking of someone yawning and see how the body activates and causes you to do it, It is amazing, right? Well, if it happens it is because your brain is in perfect condition and you are ready to develop a full social life and full of emotions. Don’t forget to share this article for others to find out why yawning is contagious.
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