Newsweek: Why do we yawn? Contagious yawns help cool down the brain, scientists say
Andrew C. Gallup, study co-author and assistant professor of psychology at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, told PsyPost: "Yawning is often misunderstood both within the scientific community and the general public."
Gallup and his team showed in a previous study that people are less likely to catch yawns during the winter than in the summer months. That 2014 work was also published in the journal Physiology & Behavior.