Autism & yawning

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Absence of contagious yawning in children with autism spectrum disorder:

This study is the first to report the disturbance of contagious yawning in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty-four children with ASD as well as 25 age-matched typically developing (TD) children observed video clips of either yawning or control mouth movements. Yawning video clips elicited more yawns in TD children than in children with ASD, but the frequency of yawns did not differ between groups when they observed control video clips. Moreover, TD children yawned more during or after the yawn video clips than the control video clips, but the type of video clips did not affect the amount of yawning in children with ASD. Current results suggest that contagious yawning is impaired in ASD, which may relate to their impairment in empathy. It supports the claim that contagious yawning is based on the capacity for empathy.

Someone should do behavioral economics studies on groups of autistic individuals. Would surely validate the mid-20th century microeconomic consensus.

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7 Comments

  1. I’d rather hoped for something on reindeer genetics.

  2. “Someone should do behavioral economics studies on groups of autistic individual. Would surely validate the mid-20th century microeconomic consensus.” 
     
    I think they have done behavioral economics studie on autistic individuals, and they tend to fit in with the economic assumptions (rational selfishness, not caring much about reciprocity), while most people don’t fit into the supposed models of behavior.

  3. Are psychopaths related to autistics in pathology?

  4. Psychopaths have very low empathy, but they are great at reading other people’s minds (the better to manipulate them), not terrible at it like autistics.

  5. So I guess empathy and ability to read others social cues are two detached things…. 
     
    eg. “regular” people = good at cues, empathetic 
    psychopaths = good at cues, not empathetic 
    autistics = bad at cues, not empathetic? or bad at cues, trying to be empathetic?

  6. I read somewhere once that autism is a lack of theory of mind. This lack of yawning would seem to support this idea.

  7. The presence of yawning in species that we don’t consider to have much of a theory of mind provide an obvious contradiction to that argument.

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