Psychopathy, yawning, and vigilance.


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Psychopathy is characterized by a general antisocial lifestyle with behaviors including being selfish, manipulative, impulsive, fearless, callous, domineering, and particularly lacking in empathy. Contagious yawning in our species has been strongly linked to empathy. One hundred and seventeen students who completed the PPI-R were exposed to a video stimulus of yawns, an in-person yawning stimulus, and a vigilance condition with an in-person yawning stimulus. We found that the vigilance condition extinguished contagious yawning in virtually all participants. We also found that the social-yawning stimulus was not as potent as the video stimulus in evoking yawning. Lastly, we assessed the utility of the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure in this research setting and found that it was not a better measure than the Coldheartedness subscale of the PPI-R in its predictive value of contagious yawning. We provide evidence for a replication of Rundle et al. (2015), a potential negative control for yawning research, and an assessment of an alternative measure to the PPI-R in this research.



Psychopathy. Yawning. Vigilance.