Here’s an article about contagious yawning, something many of us have heard about for years. Namely, you see someone yawn and you yawn yourself. Research into the ‘why’ of this has largely been speculative. Here the authors make a correlative connection to empathy and the relationship between ‘ingroup’ members and ‘outsiders.’ Kind of interesting. I can’t quite wrap my head around how we would use contagious yawning as a mechanism to study “the social and emotional bonds between humans” as they suggest.

I find the most interesting information in this posting to be found in this statement: “Humans who performed better at theory of mind tasks (a cognitive building block required for empathy) also yawn contagiously more often (PDF). And two conditions that are associated with a distinct lack of empathy are also associated with reduced or absent contagious yawning: schizotypy and autism.”

Thoughts? Or clarity on how to use this information?

Alex Russell

Alex is a member of the Six Seconds EQ Network practicing and sharing emotional intelligence

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