Animal Cognition

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1051–1058

Experimental evidence of contagious yawning in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus)

  • Andrew C. Gallup
  • Lexington Swartwood
  • Janine Militello
  • Serena Sackett
Original Paper

Abstract

Experimental evidence of contagious yawning has only been documented in four mammalian species. Here, we report the results from two separate experimental studies designed to investigate the presence of contagious yawning in a social parrot, the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus). In Study 1, birds were paired in adjacent cages with and without visual barriers, and the temporal association of yawning was assessed between visual conditions. In Study 2, the same birds were exposed to video stimuli of both conspecific yawns and control behavior, and yawning frequency was compared between conditions. Results from both studies demonstrate that yawning is contagious. To date, this is the first experimental evidence of contagious yawning in a non-mammalian species. We propose that future research could use budgerigars to explore questions related to basic forms of empathic processing.

Keywords

Yawning Contagious yawning Empathy Avian cognition 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew C. Gallup
    • 1
  • Lexington Swartwood
    • 1
  • Janine Militello
    • 1
  • Serena Sackett
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentState University of New York at OneontaOneontaUSA

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