Yawn! Your dog’s copying you

Yawn! Your dog’s copying you

March 13, 2020

Contrary to popular belief, yawning in dogs is not a signal of empathy. At least this is the conclusion of a study recently published in Proceedings of The Royal Society B. In this trial 30 dogs were placed in two different situations. In the first setting, each dog played for an extensive period with a person before being taken to bed. The accompanying human then yawned repeatedly in front of the animal. In the second setting, the person completely ignored the dog and then—as in the first scenario—yawned repeatedly in front of them. The result? Dogs yawned in both settings. The study concludes that yawning is contagious but isn’t linked to empathy. According to lead investigator Patrick Neilands, the findings offer proof of contagious yawning in non-primates. (Katrine Joncas)

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