TEEN HEALTH Published February4, 2016 By Antara Dutta Choudhury

Empathy Makes Women More Susceptible To Yawning Contagion

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Empathy Makes Women More Susceptible To Yawning Contagion
(Photo : Getty Images) A study finds that women fall in the trap of yawning contagiousness as they have greater levels of empathy.

Researcher at Pisa University secretly made an observation of 1,461 yawning spells for a period of five years to conclude that women are almost twice likely to be infectious to yawn than men.

We often yawn or stretch when we wake up or when we are sleepy and bored and also when we see someone yawn. Many scientists have put forth many theories to answer as to why we yawn and this study answers gender-specific response to yawning.

A person yawning promptly gets a response from some other person doing the same thing and this is an act of empathy. Women unconsciously mimic the act of other person due to the higher level of empathy.

Men as well as women both respond to yawn spontaneously at same rate and women tend to return yawn more promptly as they are apt at understanding what others are feeling and their ability to empathize with fellow person.

Yawning starts in human as early as after 20 weeks of conception. The act of yawning occurs in almost all vertebrates including fish and even birds. Yawning is a semi-voluntary action which is controlled by the hypothalamus of the brain.

Earlier research was done to prove that yawning is contagious even in higher animals such as apes and monkeys. Even female in apes are more prone to the yawning epidemic than males.

Researchers also indicated that the yawn bout rates are likely to be significantly lower between acquaintances as compared to friends and relations.

Dr Elisabetta Palagi, from the University of Pisa in Italy said 'The completely new finding of this study is that under natural conditions women from our population sample contagiously yawned at significantly higher rates than men," according to Sky News.

This study definitely supports the existing psychological and neurobiological studies that explain the greater empathic abilities of women as compared to men.

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