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Yawning: Effects of stimulus interest


The hypothesis that subjects yawn more while observing uninteresting than while observing interesting stimuli was tested by comparing the yawns produced by 17- to 19-year-old college freshmen while they observed a 30-min rock video, a complex and interesting audiovisual stimulus, and a 30-min color-bar test pattern without an audio track, an unchanging and very uninteresting stimulus. Significantly more and longer yawns were produced during the uninteresting than during the interesting stimulus and males performed longer yawns than females. The folk belief that people yawn more during boring than interesting events was confirmed.


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Correspondence to Robert R. Provine.

Additional information

We gratefully acknowledge the statistical assistance of Marilyn Demorest and the editorial comments of Theodore Dembroski.

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Provine, R.R., Hamernik, H.B. Yawning: Effects of stimulus interest. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 24, 437–438 (1986).

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  • Music Video
  • College Freshman
  • Audiovisual Stimulus
  • Audio Track
  • Folk Belief