Empathy, a sensitivity to the emotional responses of others, is difficult to measure directly, but contagious yawning allows assessment of a behavioural empathetic response, the researchers say.
Puppies can’t catch yawns but older dogs do, according to new research that suggests that the animals’ remarkable sense of empathy develops as they mature.
Contagious yawning is not just a sign of sleepiness or boredom. Previous research has shown the behaviour in humans, adult chimpanzees, baboons and dogs, and suggests that it can be used as a measure of empathy
By DAMIEN GAYLE