Science, Tech & Environment

Cross-species yawning

Yawning is contagious among people, and according to studies also among primates. But a new experiment suggests the yawning mechanism can also bridge between species, specifically between humans and dogs. This dog owner and psychologist and member of the research team behind this experiment talks about the impetus: noticing that his dog yawned instantaneously after he did. The team tested 29 dogs who were exposed to the yawns of strangers, and almost three-quarters of the dogs yawned contagiously. Still the psychologist is not sure what the study means. He also cites that autistic children lack the ability to yawn contagiously, which can perhaps be traced to their lack of empathy. So if dogs respond contagiously to yawns, are they portraying a rudimentary form of empathy? That doesn't mean the yawn for the dogs means the same as it does for humans. Idling is frowned upon in our society, but a new study suggests allowing yourself a period for a disconnected trance are useful. Researchers argue that boredom can act as an information filterer, a means of promoting a new perspective towards the world.

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