“Is Yawning Contagious?”

“Is Yawning Contagious?”

For my week 2 First Impression blog post, I chose to dive into the Mythbusters MiniMyth, “Is Yawning Contagious?” and post on my blog the strengths and weaknesses of the methods used in the episode.

Strengths

  • large sample size
  • dependent and independent variables
  • followed the scientific method
  • had a well constructed hypothesis

Weaknesses

  • Initiating the yawning
    • I think that the way the Mythbusters began the experiment was not a strong start. From what the viewer saw in the video, the woman who started the yawning was not clearly seen by all of the people in the sample size. She was shown yawning while the test subjects were not looking, or while she was closing the door while the subject had their back facing her.
  • Separating participants
    • I personally think that the hypothesis that yawning is in fact contagious would have been more accurately approved if the subjects were in the room in small groups to see if they would influence each other to yawn, almost like a domino effect.
  • No research prior to exeriment
    • The Mythbusters gave a brief lesson on why and what happens when a person yawns, and even though it is a short MiniMyth, I think it would have been more accurate if they had also included some of their research on this topic before conducting the experiment.

 


Introduction

Hello, My name is Sarah Hasenauer and I am a freshman at Elizabethtown College, where I am majoring in Occupational Therapy! I am from Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from campus. I am excited to begin learning about psychology because it has always caught my interest and I think it is cool to have a little bit of insight on why some people think and act the way they do. I did not chose this class, I was assigned to it, but I am happy I have it in my schedule this semester. I took an Introduction to Psychology class the first semester of my junior year in high school and I enjoyed it very much, especially the dream portion. When I hear the word “Psychology” I think of the way our brains work and why people are the way they are and why they do the things they do. I hope that this class will take me deeper into the field of psychology and widen my knowledge of the subject.

Looking at the course schedule in our syllabus, it’s easy to pick out a few very exciting topics that I am looking forward to. The first to catch my eye was “how to improve memory” because I have an awful memory! A second interesting topic is “personality and culture” because I have a fascination with personalities and identities and what makes people different and similar. Another topic is “Mood disorder & anxiety” because I know quiet a few people who have anxiety disorder so it’ll be neat to learn about what’s going on in their mind and in their emotions. There are also a few that aren’t so interesting. The “Scientific Method” because we’ve touched on that topic in high school at least once every school year. Two other topics that don’t sound too interesting are “The Brain: Micro-level” and “The Brain: Macro-level” just because I have no idea what that means! hopefully Dr. MacFarlane will be able to make these “boring” topics very interesting! A question that I would like to have answered by the end of my time in Gen Psych would be, what is operant conditioning? I’ve never heard of that and I am very excited to find out what that is.

I am very excited to begin my first year at Elizabethtown College and to begin General Psychology 105!