Yawning is a sign of deep humanity, not bad manners


Theories are abound about people yawn? Dogs do it, lions do it, babies in the womb do it -- but nobody knows why.
Now, a team, led by Professor Steve Jones at University College London, has claimed that far from being bad manners, yawning is a sign of our deep humanity, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
According to Prof Jones, yawning is catching and this may be a hint that the action evolved as a social cue -- "time for us all to go to bed" -- though as usual when evolution and human behaviour meet, the tie is speculative at best.

"However yawns arise, and whatever they signify, such a spontaneous copying response to a second person's signal of mood is an unmistakable sign of empathy; of an ability to understand and to react to someone else's state of mind.

"Empathy is what makes us into social and cooperative beings, and the speed and extent with which a person yawns in response to another's involuntary gape may be a quick and objective measure of to what degree he or she might be blessed with those useful talents.

"Chimps do yawn, and they, like us, respond in kind when shown a computerised avatar indulging in the pastime. For them, though, the gesture is a statement of dominance rather than sympathy and in other primates it may even be a sign of an imminent attack.

"Perhaps what most people regard as an impolite act, to be disguised with a strategically placed hand when in company, is instead a deep insight into what it means to be human.
Man as a yawning rather than thinking ape may lack dignity, but reveals a new and attractive side to his personality," Prof Jones said.

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