Sat. May 18th, 2024

Can dogs ‘catch’ yawns from humans?

Is it true that human yawns are contagious to dogs?

Some dog owners swear that when they yawn, their dog does, too.

Contagious yawning is a well-known phenomenon among humans — when we see, hear or sometimes even think about yawning, many of us yawn. And research shows that some of our canine companions can experience it, too.

Unlike wolves, which have been shown to catch yawns from one another, dogs are more likely to yawn in response to humans, research shows. One study showed that dogs yawn even when they hear a recording of humans yawning.

Contagious yawning in dogs is believed to be elicited by seeing or hearing a human yawn, though the precise reason we yawn when someone else does is not well understood in humans or animals.

The bigger question is what the behavior means.

“Am I socially bonded with my dog? How does my dog feel about me? Does my dog feel like I feel?” said Brian Hare, director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center.

In humans, contagious yawning has been considered “a hallmark of empathy,” said Laurie Santos, director of the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University. But there has been debate about whether contagious yawning may signal a connection between people and their pets.

A 2013 study found that dogs yawned about twice as often after watching yawns from people they were familiar with than from strangers, suggesting that a social bond associated with empathy may be behind it.

But other studies have been unable to demonstrate such a connection. A 2020 meta-analysis of 257 dogs found that there was no evidence that contagious yawning in canines is associated a familiarity bias or empathy.

“There’s just no strong support for a direct connection between contagious yawning and empathy, despite the fact that the predictions are very intuitive,” said Andrew Gallup, a professor of psychology at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, N.Y.

That does not mean contagious yawning in dogs isn’t related to empathy. “We just haven’t been able to demonstrate it in a convincing way,” Hare said.

What else you should know:

Studying dog yawns is challenging because a dog might yawn for reasons that have nothing to do with seeing a human yawn — such as spontaneous yawning.

Yawning in dogs also can be a sign of stress, which may be heightened during laboratory experiments in which the canines are being videotaped to see whether they will yawn, said Monique Udell, director of the Human-Animal Interaction Laboratory at Oregon State University.

And, as with humans, some dogs may simply yawn more or less than other dogs.

Dogs can contagiously yawn when they see or hear humans yawn, research shows, but there is no scientific consensus on what it means.

Getting You Seen Online

Thank You! Source link

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *