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    Dogs catch human yawns

    Joly-Mascheroni, Ramiro M. and Senju, Atsushi and Shepherd, Alex J. (2008) Dogs catch human yawns. Biology Letters 4 (5), pp. 446-448. ISSN 1744-9561.

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    Abstract

    This study is the first to demonstrate that human yawns are possibly contagious to domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Twenty-nine dogs observed a human yawning or making control mouth movements. Twenty-one dogs yawned when they observed a human yawning, but control mouth movements did not elicit yawning from any of them. The presence of contagious yawning in dogs suggests that this phenomenon is not specific to primate species and may indicate that dogs possess the capacity for a rudimentary form of empathy. Since yawning is known to modulate the levels of arousal, yawn contagion may help coordinate dog–human interaction and communication. Understanding the mechanism as well as the function of contagious yawning between humans and dogs requires more detailed investigation.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): yawning, contagious yawning, dog, empathy, social cognition
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2010 14:57
    Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:56
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2562

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