▲ Up
10:36 31-08-2016
MAIN АКИpress CA-News
About us On-line subscription
New study suggests contagious yawning is not linked to empathy

Bishkek (AKIpress) - woman-yawning-in-the-morning The mechanism behind contagious yawning remains one of life's great mysteries. Though previous studies have suggested a link to empathy, new research suggests this is not the case, rendering it still largely unexplained, Medical News Today reports.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by researchers from the Duke Center for Human Genome Variation in North Carolina. They say their findings show that contagious yawning may decrease with age, and that it is also not linked with tiredness or energy levels.

Contagious yawning occurs not only in humans, but also in chimpanzees and other animals, in response to hearing about, seeing or thinking about yawning.

In 2013, Medical News Today reported on a study in dogs, which suggested that the contagious yawns dogs get from their owners are a result of empathy rather than stress.

But Elizabeth Cirulli, author of the latest study and assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine, says: "The lack of association in our study between contagious yawning and empathy suggests that contagious yawning is not simply a product of one's capacity for empathy."

Cirulli and colleagues say their study is the most comprehensive research to date looking at factors that influence contagious yawning.

They explain that this phenomenon differs from spontaneous yawning, in that it does not occur merely when someone is tired or bored. While spontaneous yawning is observed in the womb, contagious yawning begins in early childhood.

Individuals with autism or schizophrenia - which involve social skills that are impaired - exhibit less contagious yawning even though they still yawn spontaneously, explain the investigators.

Contrary to previous studies, the investigators say they did not find a strong connection between contagious yawning and empathy, intelligence or time of day. In fact, the only link was age; as age increased, the researchers say participants were less likely to yawn.

It seems the mystery around contagious yawning remains. But the researchers say because variability in contagious yawning is still unexplained, they are now investigating whether there are genetic influences that affect it.

15:33 15.03.2014
10:34 Foreign Minister Wang Yi condemns attack on Chinese embassy in Bishkek10:25 Concert at Tashkent central square on occasion of Uzbekistan's independence day canceled amid uncertainty about Karimov's health condition10:19 Parliament of Kyrgyzstan returns to work after summer holidays tomorrow10:15 Key Islamic State leader killed in apparent U.S. strike in Syria09:56 U.S. State Department offers up to $3 million reward for information about former Tajik police commander, current key leader of ISIL09:50 Kyrgyzstan promises to find and hold accountable those behind suicide attack at Chinese embassy09:36 International wheelchair marathon starts at Lake Issyk-Kul09:35 Traffic movement limited today in Bishkek09:33 Longest living human says he is ready for death at 14509:25 Kyrgyzstan wins Kazakhstan in football friendly match in Bishkek09:09 Kyrgyzstan celebrates 25 years of independence08:59 EU Special Representative for Central Asia to attend World Nomad Games18:34 Kyrgyz national security agency confirms terror attack at Chinese Embassy committed by suicide bomber17:35 ASEM vehicles to be used by Mongolian police now17:32 Uzbekistan hasn't informed CIS Executive Committee about Karimov's health17:29 8 Mongolians to compete in 2016 Summer Paralympics17:22 South Korean engineers might solve lighting problems in Ulaanbaatar17:10 Senior editor of Echo of Moscow Alexey Venediktov writes about Karimov's death17:08 President Atambayev tasks law enforcement agencies to ensure public order and safety in run up to public holiday17:05 Economic cooperation might boost between Mongolia, UAE
+16° C
+36° C
+30° C
+30° C
+31° C
+21° C
exchange rates

© AKIpress News Agency - 2001-2016. All rights reserved
Republication of any material is prohibited without a written agreement with AKIpress News Agency. Any citation must be accompanied by a hyperlink to akipress.com.
Our address:
Moskovskaya str. 189, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic
e-mail: english@akipress.org, akipressenglish@gmail.com;
Tel/Fax: +996(312)90-07-75