Scientists believe that, far from being a sign of boredom, yawning signals empathy and should be taken as a compliment
Don’t be offended if your friend stifles a yawn next time you’re talking to her, instead take it as a compliment, experts say.
Italian researchers from the University of Pisa believe that that contagious yawning actually signals interest and feeling observed.
The sudy, which involved more than 100 men and women from four continents, found that how well two people know each other impacted on whether they reciprocated a yawn.
Contagious yawns were more likely to occur between family member and friends over acquaintances and strangers, according to the journal PLoS ONE.
We start to ‘catch’ yawns from the age of about four or five, which is when we begin to develop the ability to identify emotions more significantly.
Studies show that those susceptible to contagious yawning are better at distinguishing what others are thinking from their facial expressions.
The results showed that race and gender had no effect on whether the uncontrollable urge to yawn was passed on, and that empathy was the superior factor.