A new Duke University study finds that contagious yawning is linked more closely to a person’s age than their ability to empathize, and it shows a stronger link to age than tiredness or energy levels.
Psychology Professor Robert Provine was interviewed for a BBC News article about the study and said it was “unique” because it marked the first time a link between ageing and contagious yawning had been demonstrated.
The scientific study of contagious behavior, including yawning and laughing, was conducted in Provine’s lab at UMBC and the new Duke study involved application of his previous methods for examining contagious yawning.
Provine said the findings would “help to get down to the neurological nitty-gritty of contagious behaviors” and mental health disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, adding, “contagious acts such as yawning and laughing remind us that we are often mindless beasts of the herd, not rational beings in full conscious control of our behavior.”
To read the full article on the BBC News website, click here.