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New Study: A Yawn Is More Contagious From Someone You Love



PISA - This story is a yawner.

You’ve been there before: standing in line or sitting around the conference table when some sleepy-eyed dude lets loose a big ol’ yawn, and you – tired or not – start yawning too.

Yes, yawns are indeed contagious. Research has shown that some 50 percent of humans who watch a video of someone yawning will quickly yawn in response. Sometimes just reading about it can set one off too. Did someone say: yaaaawn....??

Now a new Italian study digs deeper to find out just how contagious one yawn is from another, reports La Stampa.

Elisabetta Palagi, a zoologist at the University of Pisa’s natural history museum, notes that the causes of yawning are still not entirely clear, but that a yawn has developed a “social function,” and that people yawn more when they are in a group than by themselves.

The yawn, which is present in countless species, is only contagious amongst those with more advanced intelligence, where it has evolved into a mode of communication. More specifically, the follow-up yawn is an expression of empathy, Palagi says.

Tracking the yawning habits of both humans and Bonobo chimpanzees, Palagi’s team has concluded that the closer the relation to the yawner, the more likely that yawn will be contagious.

“The only important parameter of contagiousness is the type of relation that links the two subjects,” Palagi told La Stampa. “Nationality, gender, context are not important, only the quality of the link that unites the emitter and receiver (of the yawn).”

Thus yawns from close relatives are more likely to prompt empathetic yawns than from recent friends, and certainly from strangers, the study concludes.

An interesting finding in the study of the Bonobos is that the female chimpanzee species is more likely to let loose a yawn of empathy than the male counterparts. Initial conclusions on this front for humans are the same – women are more likely to yawn empathatically than men.

Needless to say, that conclusion is likely to provoke a different kind of yawn from some male readers.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A Profound And Simple Reason That Negotiations Are Not An Option For Ukraine

The escalation of war in the Middle East and the stagnation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive have left many leaders in the West, who once supported Ukraine unequivocally, to look toward ceasefire talks with Russia. For Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Piotr Andrusieczko argues that Ukraine simply cannot afford this.

Photo of Ukrainian soldiers in winter gear, marching behind a tank in a snowy landscape

Ukrainian soldiers ploughing through the snow on the frontlines

Volodymyr Zelensky's official Facebook account
Piotr Andrusieczko


KYIVUkraine is fighting for its very existence, and the war will not end soon. What should be done in the face of this reality? How can Kyiv regain its advantage on the front lines?

It's hard to deny that pessimism has been spreading among supporters of the Ukrainian cause, with some even predicting ultimate defeat for Kyiv. It's difficult to agree with this, considering how this war began and what was at stake. Yes, Ukraine has not won yet, but Ukrainians have no choice for now but to continue fighting.

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These assessments are the result of statements by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and an interview with him in the British weekly The Economist, where the General analyzes the causes of failures on the front, notes the transition of the war to the positional phase, and, critically, evaluates the prospects and possibilities of breaking the deadlock.

Earlier, an article appeared in the American weekly TIME analyzing the challenges facing President Volodymyr Zelensky. His responses indicate that he is disappointed with the attitude of Western partners, and at the same time remains so determined that, somewhat lying to himself, he unequivocally believes in victory.

Combined, these two publications sparked discussions about the future course of the conflict and whether Ukraine can win at all.

Some people outright predict that what has been known from the beginning will happen: Russia will ultimately win, and Ukraine has already failed.

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