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

How much video gaming is too much for kids?

September 27, 2016

(HealthDay)—Playing video games might improve a child's motor skills, reaction time and even academic performance, but new research shows that too much gaming can be linked to social and behavioral problems.

How we handle objects depends on who owns them

September 27, 2016

From scissors and staplers to car keys and cell phones, we pass objects to other people every day. We often try to pass the objects so that the handle or other useful feature is facing the appropriate direction for the person ...

Dogs ignore bad advice that humans follow

September 27, 2016

Dogs are less likely to follow bad advice than children, according to a new study conducted at the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. In contrast to children, dogs only copy a human's actions if they are absolutely necessary ...

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.