Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Follow the Leader - Yawn, Cough, Smile, Laugh

Do you feel the urge to yawn when someone else does? It's very catching. Even when my dog, Rascal, yawns, I find myself yawning, and vice versa, so this phenomenum spreads to more than one species.

Riding on the Metra to work on Tuesday, someone coughed and for some reason I coughed right afterwards,though I hadn't felt the urge moments before.

What about smiling? When you take someone's picture and tell that person to smile, have you caught yourself smiling,as if you were the person getting a picture taken?

Laughing? Have you wanted to laugh at absolutely the wrong time, and made others want to as well?

Why does this happen? Is there a scientic explanation, or is it just follow the leader?

What about you? Do you exhibit such involuntary reactions? Or, have you reacted inappropriately at the worst possible time, and don't know why? Have you ever started a chain reaction of yawning or something else? Please share.

If you liked this blog, check out Get A Life at today.


  1. Is that weird. I do cough and yawn when someone else does, but if it's someone I'm not talking to, say like a stranger a few feet from me, and they smile or laugh, it doesn't trigger me to smile or laugh. What a deep blog post today! Why is that?

  2. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Yawning compulsively when someone else does is a scientific mystery yet a fact of life. Weird. And I've also gotten caught up in those laughing spells when someone starts laughing uncontrollably and pretty soon everyone in the room is laughing for reasons nobody knows, so hard and so long it hurts! Double weird.

  3. I do yawn when someone else does. It's really hard to stop myself. I also cry when someone else does. 'Course I can cry at commercials. I can cry at movies, even when I just sit down and have no idea why the actor is crying. I don't usually cough after someone else does.

  4. I frequently cause chain reactions by coughing.

  5. My dogs sometimes yawn when they are annoyed with me-I never feel the need to yawn back. :)

  6. Dang! Just reading this made me start to yawn! Not from boredom, just because, ya know.
    Here's another one to add to your list too. If you read this word or someone mentions it, do you start to itch?
    LICE! A while back, one of my fav bloggers mentioned getting a note in her child's backpack to be on the alert for head lice and just reading that, I started to itch.
    'Scuse me now while I go in search of a fine tooth comb.

  7. I'm amazed at the things you find to blog about! LOL

    Yes, I've always wondered why yawning is so catching! I always yamn when someone next to me does.


  8. When my grandson and I start yawning in reaction to each other we often turn it into a contest to see who can yawn the biggest yawn. :)

    Sharon Reece

  9. When out in public and sitting close like on a bus, or restaurant for some reason something comes over me and I start to laugh.

    I don't know what it is, maybe nervousness. I go from a giggle to a full blown laugh. When I tried to apologize to the person next to me, they were doing the same thing.

    One time I was on a bus and it started happening. Before I knew the whole bus load of people were
    practically rolling on the floor!

    Cynthia Hernandez

  10. I have actually tried to make myself consciously aware of when I need to yawn or not. If I see someone else do it, I definitely try to resist the urge just to see if I can do it. It's a fun game I like to play with myself.

    The Inner Bean

  11. Jeni,
    You are so right about the itching one. I'm itching just thinking about it.

    I thought of another to add. If someone says they feel queasy, all of a sudden it's easy to feel the same way. That's why it's hard to tell when schools or buildings need to be evacuated, because the feeling is catching.

    Morgan Mandel

  12. LOL! At least hiccups aren't contagious! LOL! I have the WORST hiccups in the world. And yes, i'm a huge yawner, laugher and cougher when other people do it too..! Jenni

  13. Hmmm. I don't have the urge to cough or yawn when others do, but I'm not safe in public either. If there is anyone around and I'm with someone, you can bet I'll start acting silly or saying dumb things, just to get a laugh. More often than not, it works. We need more laughter in this world and if I can start it, I do.

  14. Anonymous12:39 PM

    It is extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.


Your Comment Is Welcome