Yawning is famously contagious. Except that is, if you’re autistic. Here’s Mindhacks:
The study showed that children with autism were far less likely to yawn in response to watching others do the same.
Often, autistic social difficulties are put down to a problem with ‘theory of mind’ the ability to understand other people’s beliefs, intentions and desires, but it’s not clear that contagious yawning relies on this.
The researchers don’t have any easy answers for why yawn contagion is reduced in autism, but suggest, without committing, that known differences in viewing faces, possible differences in mirror neurons or problems with imitating others might be linked.
And here’s a link to the paper. I was just thinking the other day, “Gee, it’s been a while since someone has invoked mirror neurons…”