Do dogs (Canis familiaris) show contagious yawning?
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We report an experimental investigation into whether domesticated dogs display contagious yawning. Fifteen dogs were shown video clips of (1) humans and (2) dogs displaying yawns and open-mouth expressions (not yawns) to investigate whether dogs showed contagious yawning to either of these social stimuli. Only one dog performed significantly more yawns during or shortly after viewing yawning videos than to the open-mouth videos, and most of these yawns occurred to the human videos. No dogs showed significantly more yawning to the open-mouth videos (human or dog). The percentage of dogs showing contagious yawning was less than chimpanzees and humans showing this behavior, and considerably less than a recently published report investigating this behavior in dogs (Joly-Mascheroni et al. in Biol Lett 4:446–448, 2008).
KeywordsDogs Contagious yawning Social contagion Empathy
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