Children with autism apparently don’t respond to social yawning, however, prompting some researchers to blame their well-chronicled struggle with empathy.
A new Japanese study suggests that, instead, children with the disorder, such as closed eyes, that make yawning contagious. The study was published 22 July in Autism Research and Treatment.
The researchers say children with autism miss those cues because they avoid looking at people’s faces. But that may not entirely explain it. For example, a small 2009 study found that typically developing children yawn even when they’ve only heard another person do so, butCatching cues: .
In the new study, the researchers set up two experiments to determine whether children with autism look at others’ faces enough to catch a social yawn.