you are here: home > inthenews > contagious yawning and dogs, part 2

Neuroscience For Kids

Do Dogs Catch Yawns?
August 26, 2009

Last year, Neuroscience for Kids described an experiment that showed how 72% of dogs were susceptible to contagious yawning by watching people yawn. New research suggests otherwise; this new study found that few dogs yawned when they watched videos of people or other dogs yawn.

Researchers in the Department of Psychology at Hiram College (Hiram, Ohio) tested 15 dogs (ages 2-11 years old). They had the dogs watch video clips of dogs and people yawning or making open-mouth movements.


This new study used different methods to measure contagious yawning behavior. Unlike the earlier study that used real human subjects, the new study used videos of yawning people and dogs. It is likely that dogs react differently to real people than they do to watching videos. Also, dogs may respond differently to unfamiliar people (and dogs).

References and further information:

Copyright © 1996-2009, Eric H. Chudler, University of Washington