Tag: theory of mind

Dogs Catch Yawns From Their Owners. Does That Mean They Empathize with Us?

By Valerie Ross | May 15, 2012 1:45 pm

One sleepy person can start a bout of contagious yawning that quickly spreads through a room. But a new study suggests the effect may not be limited to the room’s human inhabitants: Dogs can “catch” yawns from people, the study found—especially their owners, hinting that pooches may empathize with familiar people.

When listening to recordings of people yawning, 12 of the 29 dogs in the study yawned themselves. It made a big difference, however, whom they heard: The dogs yawned more than four times as much when they heard their owner yawn as when they heard as a stranger.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Mind & Brain

Unlike the Rest of Us, Autistics Don't Act Like Angels When Someone's Watching

By Valerie Ross | October 17, 2011 12:10 pm

We want others to think well of us—so if we know someone’s watching, most of us tend to behave a little better. People with autism spectrum disorders, however, don’t, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. Since most people, psychologists think, clean up their acts out of concern for their social reputation, the new study bolsters the idea that people with autism and related conditions don’t take into account, or perhaps fully understand, what others think of them.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain
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