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Is yawning actually contagious?

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DETROIT – We all yawn. In fact, you may be yawning right now after seeing the picture above. Don't fret -- you're probably not alone!

Scientists still can't fully explain why yawning happens, but they have concluded one thing: it's contagious.

The real argument is the answer to why it's contagious.

One theory says it has to do with empathy -- the ability to understand and connect with others' emotional states. Another study conducted by Duke University suggests that contagious yawning is not related at all to empathy, tiredness or energy levels.

Both researchers found that, "The only independent factor that significantly influenced contagious yawning was age: as age increased, participants were less likely to yawn. However, age was only able to explain 8 percent of the variability in the contagious yawn response."

So, the overall answer is -- we're not entirely sure yet.

If you've made it through this story without yawning -- nice job!


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