Science Friday: Contagious Yawning

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Researchers at Drexel and Temple University along with SUNY Albany have published results that suggest contagious yawning, defined as the onset of a yawn triggered by seeing or hearing another person yawn, may have a relationship to self-processing and empathy. It has been surmised that this contagious yawning is a primitive expression of cognitive processes that are involved in self-awareness and theory of mind, the ability ot empahtize with and infer what others around you desire, know or intend to do. The research states that contagious yawning is independant of generalized emotional contagion, occurs in 40-60% of human adults in research studies and has also been reported in chimpanzees.

What AG wants to know, can you get the human to yawn when the chimp yawns? If so, AG is going on Letterman.

See full journal article.

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2 Responses to “Science Friday: Contagious Yawning”

  1. dasc Says:

    I yawn just from reading the word yawn. I thought it was more to do with getting the tribe to synch up to each others internal clock. Everyone can trust each other enough to go to sleep if they think everyone else is also going to sleep. That way no one gets their mate or breakfast stolen in the middle of the night.

  2. fish Says:

    Excuse me, science is NOT bathroom reading. Although Science magazine might be…

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