Thursday, July 18, 2024

Why is yawning contagious? The answer is from Unibo research


Bologna, June 26, 2024 –scientific reseach New items brought on practical Of the behavior behind a lot Complex social interactions.

The study, funded by the Extended Partnership in Neurobiology and Neuropharmacology of PNRRfrom BIAL Foundation And from Italian Multiple Sclerosis FoundationI have got The dignity of publishing It appeared in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (banas).

Automatic imitation

if Yawning It is one of the most famous examples of Imitative behavior. This kind of dynamic has a huge impact on… Personal and group relationshipswhich is a feature of great importance not only for Neurologybut also for Social Psychology H Behavioral.

As the researcher explained Department of Psychology “Renzo Canestrari”active in the office associated with Cesena University of Bologna, Sonia Turrini: “Automatic imitation is a behavior Widespread In the Everyday life: We think when we see someone yawning and we immediately feel the desire to do the same, or when we notice it language Or for us face features adapting to those of the friend with whom we are talking.” Hence the importance of research that aims to “understand Mechanisms This phenomenon can therefore provide new perspectives on… social behaviorThis is the context in which most of the… Everyday life “Each of us evolves.”

Brain stimulation: the experiment

They were divided into four groups. 80 healthy participants Which was later treated with A Advanced non-invasive brain stimulation technologyknown as “Cortico-cortical coupled stimulation” (ccPAS).

the professor Alessio AvenantiHe is one of the pioneers of studies on this topic, and describes its effects on “mechanisms Softness The follower Brain neural networkmap incl Neural connections In the brain. By temporarily strengthening or weakening the connection between different areas of the motor system, we were able to precisely establish the connection The causal role of different circuits In facilitating or reducing the phenomenon of automatic imitation.

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The experiment went as follows: each participant had to perform Two behavioral tasksbefore and after treatment b ccPAS: a task Voluntary imitation And one of Automatic imitation.


It turns out that several circuits of the motor system serve Different and separate social functions And that direction Energizing the ‘Target area They affect the neural circuits involved in imitation differently.

always Sonia Turrini Emphasizes how the supplementary motor cortex appears to have a role Cognitive control On the motor system: Strengthening its connection to the primary motor cortex actually leads to a greater ability to avoid imitation when this is inappropriate for the context.

As the professor notes Avenantithe results will be useful to development From the new one Clinical and therapeutic applications Able to improve Cognitive performance In patients suffering from Neurological changes e Disturbances in the social sphere“.

Karen Hines
Karen Hines
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