Video-induced yawning in stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides)

Biol Lett. 2006 Mar 22;2(1):36-8. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0411.


This study reports the first experimental exploration of possible contagious yawning in monkeys. Twenty-two stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides) were presented with video clips of either yawns or control mouth movements by conspecifics. At a group level, monkeys yawned significantly more often during and just after the yawn tape than the control tape. Supplementary analysis revealed that the yawn tape also elicited significantly more self-directed scratching responses than the control tape, which suggests that yawning might have been caused by tension arising from viewing the yawn tape. Understanding to what extent the observed effect resembles contagious yawning as found in humans and chimpanzees requires more detailed experimentation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Macaca / psychology*
  • Male
  • Videotape Recording*
  • Yawning*