We all know that yawning is contagious — but there’s more to it than that.
It turns out that whether and how likely you are to ‘catch’ yawning reveals something huge about your personality…
It turns out that the more psychopathic characteristics you have, the less chance you’ll be affected by “contagious yawning” which normal mammals are unable to resist.
(This is reassuring to the author who has probably yawned more during the writing of this article than in the past year).
In other words, contagious yawning is closely linked to empathy.
There is a growing body of evidence supporting this claim.
For starters, babies don’t catch yawns — children start catching yawning around the age of four or five (around the same time they start developing empathy).
In addition, psychopaths and people with autism (a condition associated with lower levels of empathy) are also less likely to catch yawns.
Scientists have also found that the closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to catch their yawn. A recent study found that yawn contagion was highest among family members, then for friends, then for acquaintances and the lowest for strangers.
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