Is it true that yawning is contagious? According to grade 10 Jeppe boy, Mihir Vallabh, it definitely is, although the amount of “sympathetic” yawning done depends on who yawned first, and who it was who followed suit.
Those are the results of a project that Mihir did in his life sciences class. He entered it into the Eksom Expo of Young Scientists district competition and it was named the best senior entry in the Biochemistry category, which means he gets to present it again at the regional competition in July.
“I called by project “Yawning is Contagious” and I set out to find out if, accepting that it is contagious, is it more so in different age categories,” Mihir explained.
He showed a video clip of people yawning to a group of teenagers (his friends) and a group of adults (his teacher, Ms Wasonga and her colleagues). He observed them and questioned them afterwards.
“I found that both groups yawned in response to the film, the adults more so. After interviewing them I concluded that they did so because the yawners in the clip were children, so the adults were more sympathetic to them than the teenagers were.”
When he repeats the experiment, he is going to expand the subjects in the video clip, including adults and children, and see what happens.
Mihir Vallabh clearly has the inquisitive mind of a budding scientist. Keep an eye on him, I think we are going to hear about him again before he moves on from Jeppe.