Friday, January 13, 2012

Yawning as an Empathy-O-Meter

just try not to
A friend recently shared a CBS News segment on the sociometer, which measures a person's charisma. But what if you want to measure or improve empathy? Here's an interesting way to tell:
A popular theory for how yawns spread is that they automatically engage the empathy systems in our brains. Consistent with this, past research found that children with autism, some of whom have difficulty empathising, are immune to the contagious effects of yawns
Now Ivan Norscia and Elisabetta Palagi have developed this line of enquiry, showing that we're more likely to catch a yawn from relatives than acquaintances, and more likely to catch them from acquaintances than strangers - presumably because we have more empathy for people with whom we're emotionally intimate.
Similar to touching, it seems our brain has many ways to force us to empathize.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting...Thanks for posting this one.


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