NCBI ROFL: Dogs catch human yawns.

By ncbi rofl | September 16, 2010 7:00 pm

yawn“This study is the first to demonstrate that human yawns are possibly contagious to domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Twenty-nine dogs observed a human yawning or making control mouth movements. Twenty-one dogs yawned when they observed a human yawning, but control mouth movements did not elicit yawning from any of them. The presence of contagious yawning in dogs suggests that this phenomenon is not specific to primate species and may indicate that dogs possess the capacity for a rudimentary form of empathy. Since yawning is known to modulate the levels of arousal, yawn contagion may help coordinate dog-human interaction and communication. Understanding the mechanism as well as the function of contagious yawning between humans and dogs requires more detailed investigation.”

dogs

Photo: flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography

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WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, NCBI ROFL
  • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Interesting. And great, contagious, photo! I’m guessing the dog is to the right, right?

  • http://www.deviledegg.org/ Deviled Egg

    I know when our pigs (duroc and hampshire) yawn it makes me yawn.

    I haven’t been able to get any of my dogs to yawn yet but I’m still working on it.

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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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