mise à jour du
31 mars 2008
aimablement proposé
par son auteur.
Yawning, Yielding, and Yearning to Yawn
Paper presented at the meeting
of the Midwest Psychological Assiociation
Cialdini RB, McPeek RW.
Chicago, May 1974


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Yawning, Yielding, and Yearning to Yawn:
Another Ho-Hum Study
Like eating (cf. Schachter, 1970), yawning is an everyday phenomenon which can be both internally (i.e., due to weariness) and externally (e.g., seeing someone else yawn) elicited. The present study was designed
(a) to demonstrate the existence of the externally produced "social" yawn, and
(b) to investigate the role of individual differences in susceptibility to the contagious yawn.
Thirty introductory psychology students (Rotter-I-E and Barron independence of judgment data available for all) participated individually in a "first impressions" study. Twenty subjects (randomly assigned) viewed a 10-minute video tape of an individual who yawned four times while "free-associating" to an abstract symbol; the remaining ten subjects saw a similar no-yawn tape. Subject yawning was covertly observed through an apparently curtained one-way mirror.
Afterwards subjects rated both their own degree of weariness and boredom and the "personality characteristics" of the free-associater. The experimenter then introduced additional information about the tape person (the "free-associations" he made) and asked subjects to rate them again "to see ho much your impressions change." (Rating differences were intended to reflect suscptibility to demand characteristics.) Finally, subjects were weighed (% overweight determined) and debriefed (none were suspicious).
Yawn tape subjects were more likely to yawn (Fisher's exact p = .012, one-tailed) and yawned more frequently ( <.05, one-tailed) than no-yawn tape subjects, thus demonstrating social, contagious yawning.
Within the yawn tape condition, yawners scored as more external and less independent of judgment, were more overweight, and yielded to demand characteristics more than yawn-resisters (binomial p for 4 out of 4 predicted direction differences = .0625), Only the Barron scale data, however, reached significance ( <.05), suggesting that this scale tapped the most relevant social influence dimension. Interestingly, yawners also rated themselves as drowsier ( <.07) and more bored (<.05) than resisters, indicative of a selfattribution process akin to that described by Laird (1974).
Conclusions and Implications: These results suggest that the same factors important in more traditional social influence settings are also active in the contagion of social behaviors like yawning. In particular, individuals who conform in an Asch paradigm, who are identifiable by the Barron test (Barron, 1953), appear to also be the individuals most susceptible to contagious yawning. One may speculate further as to parallels between yawning and the influence process; for example, credibility of the model yawner could affect degree of contagion.

Barron F. Some personality correlates of independence of judgment. J Personality. 1953 Mar;21(3):287-97.
Answer the following questions by circling T (True) or F (False).
Please answer all questions.
1. T or F What the youth needs most is strict discipline, rugged determination, and the will to work and fight for family and country.
2. T or F Some of my friends think that my ideas are impractical, if not a bit wild.
3. T or F Kindness and generosity are the most important qualities for a wife to have.
4. T or F I have seen some things so sad that I almost felt like crying.
5. T or F I don't understand how men in some European contries can be so demonstrative to one another.
6. T or F I must admit that I would find it hard to have for a close friend a person whose manners or appearance made him somewhat repulsive, no matter how brilliant or kind he might be.
7. T or F A person should not probe too deeply into his own and other peoples' feelings, but take things as they are.
8. T or F I could cut my moorings--quit my home, family, and friends-without suffering great regrets.
9. T or F I prefer team games to games in which one individual competes against another.
10. T or F What this country needs most, more than laws and political programs, is a few courageous, tireless, devoted leaders in whom the people can put their faith.
11. T or F I acquired a strong interest in intellectual and aesthetic matters from my mother.
12. T or F Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict.
13. T or F I believe you should ignore other peopls faults and make an effort to get along with almost everyone.
14. T or F The best theory is the one that has the best practical applications.
15. T or F I like to fool around with new ideas, even if they turn out later to be a total waste of time.
16, T or F The unfinished and the imperfect often have greater appeal for me than the completed and polished.
17. T or F I would rather have a few intern friendships than a great many friendly but casual relationships.
18. T or F Perfect balance is he essence of all good composition.
19, T or F Science should have as much to say about moral values as religion does. ,
20. T or F The happy person tends always to be poised, courteous, outgoing, and emotionally controlled.
21. T or F Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as they grow up they ought to get over them and settle down.
22. T or F It is easy for me to take orders and do what I am told.