Children Under Four and Children With Autism Don’t Yawn Contagiously

Posted on September 23, 2010 

Children Under Four and Children With Autism Don’t Yawn Contagiously

If someone near you yawns, do you yawn, too? About half of adults yawn after someone else does in a phenomenon called contagious yawning. Now a new study has found that most children aren’t susceptible to contagious yawning until they’re about 4 years old — and that children with autism are less likely to yawn contagiously than others.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, appears in the September/October 2010 issue of the journal Child Development.

To determine the extent to which children at various stages of social development are likely to yawn contagiously, the researchers studied 120 typically developing 1- to 6-year-olds. Although babies begin to yawn spontaneously even before they leave the womb, most of the children in this study didn’t show signs of contagious yawning until they were 4.

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