Tue, Sep 02, 2014 - Page 10 News List

Catching a yawn is linked to age, study shows

A Muslim boy, center, yawns in Calcutta, India on July 29.

Photo: EPA

People are less likely to yawn when others do as they get older, a study has found.

Contagious yawning is linked more closely to a person’s age than their ability to empathize, as previously thought, US-based scientists said. It also showed a stronger link to age than tiredness or energy levels.

Researchers are now looking at whether the ability to catch yawns from other people is inherited, with the hope of helping treat mental health disorders.

Autism and schizophrenia sufferers are reportedly less able to catch yawns, researchers said, so understanding the genes that might code for contagious yawning could illuminate new pathways for treatment.

In the study, 328 participants were shown a three-minute video showing other people yawning. Each subject had to click a button every time they yawned.

Overall, 68 percent of the participants yawned. Of those, 82 percent of people aged under 25 yawned, compared with 60 percent of people aged between 25 and 49, and 41 percent of people aged over 50.

(Courtesy of Liberty Times)









1. contagious adj.

傳染性的;具感染力的 (chuan2 ran3 xing4 de5; ju4 gan3 ran3 li4 de5)

例: Fear is contagious.


2. empathize v.

產生共鳴 (chan3 sheng1 gong4 ming2)

例: It’s very easy to empathize with the characters in her books.


3. illuminate v.

闡明;照亮 (chan3 ming2; zhao4 liang4)

例: The report illuminated the difficult issues at the heart of science policy.


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