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Bonobos Catch Yawns from Friends
For bonobos, yawning is contagious, but only between friends.
Yawns spread more easily between family and close friends, and from high-status monkeys to those lower on the totem pole, according to a study published online in the journal PLoS ONE. This pattern of social yawning mimics one found in humans and suggests infectious yawning is a byproduct of empathy, which coordinates emotions in a group.
"It underlines that the mechanism of yawn contagion in the two species is the same," said study co-author Elisabetta Palagi, a primate researcher at the University of Pisa in Italy. "One of the possible functions of yawn contagion is to synchronize individuals of a social group. In humans, yawn contagion is extremely important but just between people who share strong bonds."

Bonobos Catch Yawns from Friends

For bonobos, yawning is contagious, but only between friends.

Yawns spread more easily between family and close friends, and from high-status monkeys to those lower on the totem pole, according to a study published online in the journal PLoS ONE. This pattern of social yawning mimics one found in humans and suggests infectious yawning is a byproduct of empathy, which coordinates emotions in a group.

"It underlines that the mechanism of yawn contagion in the two species is the same," said study co-author Elisabetta Palagi, a primate researcher at the University of Pisa in Italy. "One of the possible functions of yawn contagion is to synchronize individuals of a social group. In humans, yawn contagion is extremely important but just between people who share strong bonds."

Filed under primates bonobos yawning contagious yawning animal behavior empathy neuroscience psychology science

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    Yawns…
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    If the status-derived contagion of yawns were true for humans also, the teacher would always yawn first. If it were only...
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    Bonobos Catch Yawns from Friends For bonobos, yawning is contagious, but only between friends. Yawns spread more easily...
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