Andrew Gallup of the Psychology Department published a research article in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports (Impact Factor: 5.578). The paper was co-authored by Allyson Church and Heather Miller (undergraduate psychology majors), as well as international colleagues Evan Risko (University of Waterloo) and Alan Kingstone (University of British Columbia).
Gallup, A.C., Church, A.M., Miller, H., Risko, E.F. & Kingstone, A. (2016). Social presence diminishes contagious yawning in the laboratory. Scientific Reports 6, 25045.
Abstract: Contagious yawning may be a useful measure of social psychological functioning, and thus it is important to evaluate the variables influencing its expression in laboratory settings. Previous research has documented that humans yawn less frequently in crowded environments and when under direct observation, but the impact of social presence on contagious yawning remains unknown. Here we present the first study to systematically alter the degree of social presence experienced by participants in the laboratory to determine its effect on contagious yawning frequency. Our results demonstrate that both implied and actual social presence significantly diminish yawn contagion in comparison to a control condition, indicating a key social component to contagious yawning. These findings provide a framework for pursuing additional research investigating the social factors influencing contagious yawning, while also offering applications for measuring this response in laboratory settings.