Contagious Behavior

Have you ever wondered when somebody begins to yawn then it slowly starts to become a chain of people yawning or when one person laughs then all of a sudden everyone starts to laugh? Scientists believe that it is part of a phenomenon called behavioral contagion or contagious behavior. Our everyday lives are filled with examples of how we “catch” even subtle emotions and complex behaviors, such as happiness and anger from other people.With this, it refers to the tendency of a certain behavior to exhibited by one person and to be copied by others who are either in the same area of the individual, or who have been exposed to media coverage (ex: videos or television) describing the behavior of the that individual. Some behaviors that are common to see as contagious includes: smiling, frowning, rudeness and many more. This phenomenon is unconscious and can either affect the person either positively or negatively depending on the situation.

Here are examples of how risky behaviors such as gambling or cheating are more likely the cause of this phenomenon. Maybe the next time you think about doing something, think about how you could be someone's mirror!


  1. This idea of behaviors being "contagious" always interested me. I always wondered if yawning could actually be contagious or if it was a myth. I also like how you mentioned that this could be dangerous when it comes to high risk behaviors. it is interesting to consider that someone else could be mirroring your behaviors.

  2. I find this topic very interesting! You can observe contagious behaviors all day, whether you are in class, at work, at a mall and so many more places. My personal favorite contagious behavior would have to be laughter. I also like the image that you used in your post.

  3. You made a good point when you said to consider how you could be someone's mirror. This phenomenon should remind us to be mindful of what we are modeling to others because we just might create a chain reaction.


Post a Comment