Scientists have uncovered one of the mysteries of yawning

When people around us yawn, and we ourselves want to yawn. When the owner of the dog yawns, then begins to yawn and his dog. Scientists explain this phenomenon by the fact that both people and animals in this way exhibit empathy-the ability to read the emotions of others. It is noteworthy that both children and baby animals are immune to contagious yawning.

A number of studies have already shown that the thesis of contagious yawning apply not only to individuals but also to chimpanzees, baboons and adult dogs. Scientists believe that yawning in the animal world is used as a measure of empathy.

Empathy, that is an imitation of emotional reactions of others, it is difficult to measure by itself, but its display shows sensitivity towards others. Prior to this, scientists have repeatedly investigated contagious yawning in young children, but that the present study was the first who chose his object babies of other species.

PhD Alencar Elaine Madsen and Thomas Persson of the University of Lund in Sweden observed in 35 puppies at the age of four to fourteen months, watching them play, fight and bite, noting their reactions to human yawns. And the first thing that drew attention to scientists — is that only puppies infected with a yawn over seven months. Madsen and Persson observation suggests that empathy, the ability to read the emotions of others, and in children, and the puppies develop at an early age.

Thus, the children "infected" yawn approximately four years, when, having some wealth of knowledge, can already understand certain emotions of another person. Puppies are also under seven months yawn only when they are tired and bored.

It is noteworthy that infect the grown puppy yawning can not only close to her man, with whom she feels an emotional connection. In the experiment, the four-legged subjects equally willingly yawned in response to yawns as host and strangers.

But among chimps yawning is a sign of social communication. On the yawns of strangers they do not respond, then the members of the pack as yawns are contagious for them. Ph.D. Matthew Campbell and Frans de Waal believe that yawning chimpanzees is a symbol of unity.

"The bottom line is that yawning is contagious as a smile, frown and other facial expressions. Our results support the idea that zevotku can be regarded as a sign of sympathy — that is what we are seeing among the people" — explain the study authors.

In the experiment, the researchers observed in 23 adult chimpanzees separated into two groups. All of them showed a few videos in which the two groups either yawning or going about their usual business. Those chimps that show the yawning members of their group, yawned 50 percent more frequently.

In humans, the scientists explain, at the sight of another person with, for example, pain, certain areas of the brain are activated. However, more people tend to show sympathy to the members of the same social group to which they apply.

Chimpanzees more complicated than that: any stranger for them to identify a stranger, so the border "the — another" they spend more clearly.

Natalia Sinica

Category: Scientists, experts, science

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