We often turn to dogs and to chimpanzees to understand our species. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives (with bonobos), while centuries of selective breeding have turned dogs into a species uniquely suited to comprehend our own social cues.
Evidence has been accumulating for several years that contagious yawning is driven by social cognition. But how? And is it related to empathy?
Contagious yawning can be annoying, but it might also be a sign of good social skills. It’s a type of emotional contagion, a phenomenon in which we tend to share the feelings of people around us.