Why do dogs yawn when they see sleepy humans?

Posted on May 29, 2013

Why we yawn at all isn’t entirely clear. Some say it helps keep us awake, others say it has a role in group communication – a way of telling others without language when you’re ready to sleep. Another more recent suggestion is that perhaps it’s related to empathising with individuals around you.

Individuals that are more empathetic are more likely to yawn when seeing another individual yawning. You’re also more likely to yawn if you see someone familiar to you yawn (like friends or family) yawn, than someone you don’t know.

Supporting this idea that yawning is related to empathy is the fact that it emerges in children at the same time as they develop empathy.

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Source material from Scientific American

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