MIAMI (CBS4) –  Are you ready to yawn?  As you know, yawning is contagious, at least among humans and other primates.

Italian researchers set out to find out why… they noticed that yawning was most quickly contagious among family and friends then among acquaintances and strangers.

Their conclusion?  That empathy plays a big role in making yawning contagious even among baboon and lemurs.

A separate study supports that theory, finding  little children and people with autism who had not developed the emotion recognition skills required to empathize with others, were immune to contagious yawning.

We all know how a badly timed yawn can embarrass everyone from holy men, to political leaders, to the children of presidents.

And while most animals yawn, I think you’ll agree the undisputed yawning champ is the hippo.

I suspect many of you are yawning just about now even though you’re probably not sleepy.

Nobody yawns while they’re anchoring a newscast… too much adrenaline… but I’m sure I’ll be yawning as soon as the lights go down.


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