Thursday, July 9, 2015

Empathy and Yawning

Birds yawn, too. Andrew C. Gallup, PhD, and colleagues reported that the frequency of yawns more than doubled among parakeets when their ambient temperature increased. Have you noticed that yawning, as with laughter, can be contagious? Studies have shown yawning contagion among humans, chimps, and dogs. Some researchers think that the behavior of yawning may indicated a capacity for empathy. The journal Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience suggested that: “.... contagious yawning is a primitive expression of social cognition.” There may be other connections between yawns and health, too. Anecdotally, excessive yawning may be connected with a heart problem (that needs to be checked out). Some seizure-prone individuals have exhibited excessive yawning just before a seizure, others prior to the onset of a migraine. Or it just may mean that you are sleep deprived . . . 

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