Level: intermediate and above

Time of completion:  10+ min



*Yaaawwwwwn* Did just reading the word make you feel like yawning yourself? Known as contagious yawning, the reasons behind this phenomenon have been attributed to both the physiological and psychological. It’s been observed in children as young as four and even in dogs! Claudia Aguirre visits the many intriguing theories that might explain contagious yawning.



Useful vocabulary

Contagious (Adj): a contagious feeling or idea spreads quickly from one person or place to another

Prevalent (Adj): very common in a particular place or among a particular group

Physiological (adj): relating to the way that the body of a living thing operates

Stimulus (n): anything that encourages something to happen, develop, or improve

Copycat (n): similar to something else and considered to be a copy of it

Crucial (adj): something that is crucial is extremely important because it has a major effect on the result of something



Watch the video and complete the summary with NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS in each space.

There are three 1_____________ under research: two 2_____________ and one psychological.

The first suggests that yawning is triggered by a 3______________________: an initial yawn, and it is called 4 _______________pattern. It is similar to a 5 _____________ effect.

The second is known as the 6____________effect. It states that people imitate each other’s behaviour without knowing it. This behaviour might be possible due to 7________________ which are also important for learning.

The third one is called the  8 _______________________. Scientists set up an experiment to prove that 9__________ would yawn at the sound of yawning and they also discovered that we yawn more frequently at the yawns of 10____________ rather than strangers.



  1. Hypotheses
  2. Physiological
  3. (specific) stimulus
  4. Fixed action
  5. Reflex
  6. Chameleon
  7. Mirror neurones
  8. Emphaty yawn
  9. Dogs
  10. friends