Our yawning may even infect dogs   Leave a comment

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    Researchers will now find out why: Strong relationship between man and dog encourages its empathy

Tokyo – Much is still unclear about the function of yawning and also to the “degree of contagion.” In general, however, it is brought into relation with empathy when someone is involuntarily led by the yawn of another person to emulate.The person must not even be present: Often enough already Images or merely the idea of ​​a yawning man to even unlock your mouth before you know it.

Empathic or empathetic

Animals can be infected to varying degrees: for example, chimpanzees behave as we do. The footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria), however, is apparently “immune” – for this discovery, the Austrian researchers Isabella Mandl and Ludwig Huber received two years ago, the Ig Nobel Prize.

As for dogs, once again shows what a special relationship has been established between our two species: Because when dog owners yawn, can not cool their four-legged friends. You yawn with – and probably out of compassion, as a study by researchers at the University of Tokyo found. 

That can infect dogs yawn, scientists already knew: A relevant study was published in 2008. Previously it was unclear whether this is due to a rudimentary empathy in dogs or, for example, is a type of stress response. Teresa Romero and her colleagues have now found that dogs can infect significantly more yawns from their owners than by strangers.This put to the assumption that it was an empathic response, the researchers write in the journal “PLoS One”.

The experiment

In the experiments, 25 dogs and their owners, people they did not know at first loud yawn and then the silent opening the mouth had been watching. Result: The animals were significantly more often infected by a real yawn as of a controlled opening of the mouth, the researchers write.Noteworthy is also been that the animals were significantly more likely to yawn at the sight of their owner as at the sight of strangers yawn. This shows that the contagious yawning in dogs was related to the degree of emotional closeness.

Yawning is often considered in dogs as a stress reaction. The researchers measured in their experiments but also the heartbeat of the animal and put it finds that no significant differences were evident here. The researchers see this as evidence is that at least that contagious yawning has nothing to do with stress

Posted August 9, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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