Yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn; yawn, yawn, yawn! The social, evolutionary and neuroscientific facets of contagious yawning.
Front Neurol Neurosci. 2010;28:107-12. Epub 2010 Mar 26. PMID: 20357468
Steven M Platek
Contagious yawning is a common phenomenon affecting upwards of 60% of healthy humans. It has also been observed, at a lesser rate, in great apes and other primates. Here I summarize the suggestion that contagious yawning is a primitive expression of social cognition, namely empathy. Susceptibility to contagious yawning is correlated with the speed in recognizing one's own face, theory of mind processing, and is also associated with activation in regions of the brain that have been associated with social cognitive processes. This suggests that contagious yawning may be an evolutionarily old process that begot a higher level of social cognition in certain species.
Article Published Date : Jan 01, 2010
Contagious yawning in chimpanzees.
Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Jun;113(3):374-8. Epub 2009 Mar 25. PMID: 15801606
James R Anderson, Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Six adult female chimpanzees were shown video scenes of chimpanzees repeatedly yawning or of chimpanzees showing open-mouth facial expressions that were not yawns. Two out of the six females showed significantly higher frequencies of yawning in response to yawn videos; no chimpanzees showed the inverse. Three infant chimpanzees that accompanied their mothers did not yawn at all. These data are highly reminiscent of the contagious yawning effects reported for humans. Contagious yawning is thought to be based on the capacity for empathy. Contagious yawning in chimpanzees provides further evidence that these apes may possess advanced self-awareness and empathic abilities.
Article Published Date : Jun 01, 2009
A separation of innate and learned vocal behaviors defines the symptomatology of spasmodic dysphonia.
Laryngoscope. 2018 Dec 24;:
Authors: Guiry S, Worthley A, Simonyan K
OBJECTIVE: Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary spasms in the laryngeal muscles. It is thought to selectively affect speaking; other vocal behaviors remain intact. However, the patients' own perspective on their symptoms is largely missing, leading to partial understanding of the full spectrum of voice alterations in SD.
METHODS: A cohort of 178 SD patients rated their symptoms on the visual analog scale based on the level of effort required for speaking, singing, shouting, whispering, crying, laughing, and yawning. Statistical differences between the effort for speaking and the effort for other vocal behaviors were assessed using nonparametric Wilcoxon rank-sum tests within the overall SD cohort as well as within different subgroups of SD.
RESULTS: Speech production was found to be the most impaired behavior, ranking as the most effortful type of voice production in all SD patients. In addition, singing required nearly similar effort as speaking, ranking as the second most altered vocal behavior. Shouting showed a range of variability in its alterations, being especially difficult to produce for patients with adductor form, co-occurring voice tremor, late onset of disorder, and familial history of dystonia. Other vocal behaviors, such as crying, laughing, whispering, and yawning, were within the normal ranges across all SD patients.
CONCLUSION: Our findings widen the symptomatology of SD, which has predominantly been focused on selective speech impairments. We suggest that a separation of SD symptoms is rooted in selective aberrations of the neural circuitry controlling learned but not innate vocal behaviors.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4. Laryngoscope, 2018.
PMID: 30582159 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]