How To Spot A Psychopath Based On The Way You Yawn

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psychopath yawning

There are many signs that indicate that someone may be a psychopath. They have traits like superficiality, narcissism, a grandiose sense of self, pathological lying, a lack of guilt and empathy, and so much more.

Research has also shown that staying friends with an ex could make you a possible psychopath. In fact, you can take online quizzes to see if you might have the traits of one (or if you just really, really idolize Hannibal Lecter).

But when trying to spot a psychopath, you may be able to tell just by paying attention to the way they yawn.

RELATED: 1 In 100 People Are Psychopaths — The 3 Personality Traits That Give Them Away

What does it mean if someone doesn't yawn?

If someone cannot correctly yawn, it may mean they have an issue with their nervous system.

When we yawn, our nervous systems release energy. When you cannot yawn, it means that the system is not expelling energy normally, which can lead to an unhealthy accumulation of that energy.

However, yawning is also linked to empathy. So, when people see others yawn, they too end up yawning, which is called contagious yawning.

But not yawning can also indicate a lack of empathy. People who are less empathetic are less likely to yawn upon seeing another yawn. This could lead people to believe that those with unempathetic disorders, like sociopathy or psychopathy, won't be able to yawn.

Is yawning linked to psychopathy?

According to one particular 2015 study published in "Personality and Individual Differences," researchers found that there is a link between being a psychopath and yawning.

To be more specific, when you yawn in the presence of a psychopath, the psychopath will not "catch" a yawn.

Baylor University researchers gathered 135 subjects, had them take the Psychopathic Personality Inventory, and then conducted an experiment where they exposed the subjects to yawning.

According to researchers, it all has to do with empathy. One of the signs of a psychopath is their lack of empathy towards another person. Empathy is known to be one of the core psychological factors that can lead to catching a yawn.

Prior studies have noticed this same lack of empathy in children on the autism spectrum (that does not mean, however, that autistic individuals are psychopaths — it just means that they are less likely to catch a yawn).

RELATED: 7 Major Differences Between A Psychopath And A Sociopath You Need To Know

And it wasn't just the test subjects' lack of a yawn that researchers tested. They were also tested on how easily they were startled (psychopaths tend to lack fear). The less likely that someone was startled, the less likely they were to yawn.

"Of course, this is not a diagnostic tool for psychopathy, but it is an interesting connection, showing how these personality traits affect various behaviors in unexpected ways," said professor and scientist, Jennifer Golbeck. It's still a fascinating study!

Can you test yourself for psychopathy based on yawning?

You can test yourself with the video below.

How long did you last without yawning? The first 5 seconds? Or all the way to the end?

If you gave into your yawns before the end, congratulations! You are not a psychopath. But, if you didn't, however, then you might just be one.

You can relax though; just because you didn't yawn throughout the whole video doesn't mean you're actually a psychopath. But it probably does mean that you tend to be ruthless, you don't usually let your emotions get in the way of what you need to do, and you can easily make tough decisions.

To truly be diagnosed as a psychopath, you need to see a professional clinician and be given an assessment using the Psychopathy Checklist, which is a 20-item semi-structured interview that takes about three hours to administer.

RELATED: The Creepy Speech Patterns That Can Help You Identify A Psychopath

Caithlin Pena is an editor and former contributor for YourTango. Her work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Psych Central, and BRIDES.