Empathy and Yawn Contagion: Can We (Humans) Catch Yawns from Robots?

Empathy plays an important role in the interaction between humans and robots. The contagious effect of yawning is moderated by the degree of social closeness and empathy.

We propose to analyse the contagion of yawns as an indicator for empathy.

We conducted pilot studies to test different experimental procedures for this purpose. We hope to be able to report on experimental results in the near future.