Dogs Find Human Yawns Contagious

Posted on August 5, 2008

A British study has found that dogs find human yawns contagious. British scientists believe this may mean dogs have a "rudimentary capacity for empathy."

A report on the study from Metro says 72% of the dogs tested were found yawning after observing a human yawning. Contagious yawning has previously only been shown to occur in humans and chimpanzees.

The BBC also has an article about the yawning dogs study. They talked to the leader of the study Dr. Atsushi Senju. Senju says, "Dogs have a very special capacity to read human communication. They respond when we point and when we signal."

There are many pet owners that could probably have told the scientists that their dogs yawn after they do and vice versa but the scientific study does offer some scientific proof. Some cat owners might even say that cats know what it means when their human is yawning and looking sleepy but this study was only about the dogs.

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