Those who stay together yawn together

December 7, 2011

You're more likely to respond to a yawn with another yawn when it comes from family member or a friend than from a stranger, says a study published Dec. 7 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

The phenomenon of "yawn contagion" is widely known but little understood, and this new study, led by Ivan Norscia and Elisabetta Palagi of the University of Pisa in Italy, suggests that it occurs at least in part as a form of social . The researchers found that yawn contagion was highest in response to kin, then friends, then acquaintances, and finally strangers - the same pattern as is seen for other measures of empathy as well.

Based on these results, the authors conclude that "for the first time, yawn contagion is affected by the empathic bond that links two people, by considering humans in their natural settings."

More information: Norscia I, Palagi E (2011) Yawn Contagion and Empathy in Homo sapiens. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28472. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028472

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Neural efficiency hypothesis confirmed

July 27, 2015

One of the big questions intelligence researchers grapple with is just how differences in intelligence are reflected in the human brain. Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in studying further details relating to suspected ...

How does color blindness affect color preferences?

July 21, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Dichromacy is a color vision defect in which one of the three types of cone photoreceptors is missing. The condition is hereditary and sex-linked, mostly affecting males. Although researchers have explored ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.