Everyone knows yawning is contagious. Just thinking about yawning is making you yawn right now, right?
Just typing the word "yawn" over and over is making me yawn.
But I've noticed my yawning has zero effect on Ryan.
With the most minimal research, I learned about some scientific studies* which have demonstrated that children with autism spectrum disorders are largely immune to the phenomenon of contagious yawning. The studies support the hypothesis that contagious yawning is a result of social empathy, and therefore individuals who lack social empathy do not pick up on the cues that make the rest of us yawn in response to seeing or hearing others yawning.
Could this knowledge lead to an easy diagnostic test for ASD?
* Some studies:
Absence of contagious yawning in children with autism spectrum disorder
Contagious and spontaneous yawning in autistic and typically developing children